MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) — The wife of a Muskegon Heights pastor has been charged with three felonies accusing her of fraud against Consumers Energy.
Pamela Duncan, 63, was booked in the Muskegon County Jail Thursday on three felony counts accusing her of committing fraud using false pretenses.
Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson said Duncan is accused of running up electricity bills at three properties without keeping up with the payments. Once the bills got to the point of shutoff, she allegedly restarted accounts with the energy company under different names.
The charges accuse her of making off with between $3,000 and $60,000 over the past several years.
Duncan’s husband James Duncan is the pastor at the Revival Miracle Temple in Muskegon. He has been at odds with Muskegon Heights City officials for months after the city condemned an apartment building he owned at 309 E. Hackley St., between Peck and Getty streets. Fifteen families were forced to move out in December because city officials said conditions were dangerous and the electricity had been shut off.
Last week, the vacated building was destroyed by a large fire. Muskegon Heights Fire Chief Chris Dean said Monday evening that fire investigators have ruled the fire an arson. Dean said no arrests have been made and fire investigators were still working to locate and interview the Duncans.
The apartment building was among the locations involved in the alleged fraud. The other two were the church building on Leahy Street and what used to be the couple’s home in North Muskegon.
Carol Gauthier, the Duncans’ former neighbor in North Muskegon, said they were good neighbors and kind people. She said they suddenly moved out from their home earlier this year.
Some online realty websites list the waterfront property the Duncans once owned at a value upwards of half a million dollars.
24 Hour News 8 attempted to reach James Duncan at a Muskegon County motel where he is now living. He later approached the news crew at the scene of the apartment fire.
James Duncan said his wife was innocent of the charges against her and denied having any knowledge about who might have started the fire at the apartment building.
“Whatever is true is true, but whatever ain’t true is not true,” Duncan told 24 Hour News 8.
The pastor declined to answer questions about the charges his wife faces.
“I’ll let that be done to the attorneys that’s handling all of that stuff,” he said. “All I know is nobody tried to do nothing wrong or evil.”
James Duncan said the individuals whose names were used to start new accounts with Consumers Energy were people who were trying to help the Duncans and their ministry.
He lamented during his interview the lack of media coverage about the “hundreds and hundreds” of people he says he has helped over the years.
Pamela Duncan is expected to appear before a judge on the charges she faces for the first time later this month.