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Local News in Brief : One Gang ‘Summit’ Leader Surrenders

An aspiring minister who helped organize two gang “peace summits” this summer surrendered to Pasadena police Wednesday on an outstanding warrant charging him with 29 counts of grand theft and fraud involving $125,000 in student loans.

James Stern, 24, a minister-in-training at the Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church, was booked and then released on $25,000 bail, Deputy Dist. Atty. Donna Wills said.

Stern and seven other defendants face 15 counts of grand theft, 13 counts of document forgery and one count of conspiracy. Stern allegedly schemed with them to apply for financial aid at a Bank of America branch in Pasadena, claiming that they were enrolled in the University of Sound Arts Vocational School when they were not.

Stern, along with the Rev. Charles Mims, the pastor of his church, and other local Watts clergymen organized a gang summit meeting in July and a second, larger “peace summit” in August.

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