7 On Your Side: Man of God or fraud?

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- 7 On Your Side never gives up. Six years ago they tracked down a clergyman who was a wanted man in three counties. The reverend was eventually convicted for fraud. This year, we found he was back at the pulpit in Newark and back in trouble with the law -- now his former landlord says he bounced a deposit check to him worth $2,500.

It's been six years since 7 On Your Side came face to face with Rev. Robert Hester.

In 2012, the self-proclaimed bishop got busted for writing bogus checks just days after we crossed state lines to catch up with him in Pennsylvania.

Fast forward to 2018, and the rogue reverend, whose arrest record spans 20 years, is back in front of a judge again. This time, it's in Newark Municipal Court.

Hester's new storefront ministry called the "Powerhouse of Deliverance " is accused of delivering rubber checks, renting the space with a bad deposit check.

"He said he made a mistake," Newark landlord Femi Fasehun said. He says the convicted clergyman and his wife, Jessica Smith-Hester, proceeded to bounce three more checks to him.

Jessica Hester denied the allegations and said the landlord was lying.

Yet a Newark court representative said her husband entered into an agreement to pay off the checks. Still the reverend was unrepentant.

The court ordered the minister to come up with the money for the landlord in monthly payments of $200. But what about paying back for that Newark furniture store he's owed since 2012?

After another encounter with 7 On Your Side, it was a good day for the furniture store owners. It took six years, but Larry Selikoff, owner of Newark's Clinton & Bergen Furniture, went back to court and the pastor finally paid him -- two payments for a little less than $800.

Newark Municipal Court said Hester did make two monthly payments to Femi totaling about $400. But when Hester skipped his November court date and didn't make his monthly partial payment, Newark court issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

Robert Hester didn't respond to our requests for comment.


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