(NBC News) — Federal agents in Florida had been seeking to question Evan Edwards, a pastor, and his family for days when their Mercedes SUV was spotted speeding on I-75 north of Gainesville.
The Edwardses were Christian missionaries from Canada who lived in Turkey for many years and moved to Florida in 2019. On paper they ran a faith-based charity with a high-minded mission: to “communicate Christian love in doctrine and service to the poor.”
But by the fall of 2020, the family of four — dad Evan; mom Mary Jane; daughter Joy, 36; and son Josh, 30 — were suspected of pulling off a multimillion-dollar fraud that targeted the government’s Covid relief program for small businesses and nonprofits.
The Edwardses received more than $8 million after Josh filed paperwork falsely claiming that their ministry, ASLAN International Ministry, had 486 employees and a monthly payroll of $2.7 million, according to a federal forfeiture complaint.
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