Portsmouth City Councilman Mark Whitaker indicted by special grand jury

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - City Councilman Mark Whitaker was indicted by a special grand jury Thursday, according to the court website.

He is facing charges including multiple counts of identity fraud, forgery, and uttering a check among other charges.

Mark Whitaker

Later in the day Thursday police said Whitaker received an unsecured bond and was released.

A special prosecutor requested a grand jury investigate activities at New Bethel Baptist Church, the New Bethel Federal Credit Union, and New Bethel Development, LLC, according to court documents.

Whitaker is assistant pastor of the church, according to the church's website. He was elected to city council in 2014.

The investigation was conducted by the Portsmouth Sheriff's Office, the National Credit Bureau, and the US Dept. of Treasury.

Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie Morales asked for a special prosecutor to handle the case, court documents say.

Ross Spicer, the Commonwealth's Attorney for Frederick County, is reviewing the case.

Mugshot of Councilman Mark Whitaker

The 20 charges were filed Thursday but accusations stem from 2013 and 2014.

The father of four is listed as an assistant pastor on the website and his father is head pastor of the church.

Evidence was presented to the grand jury this past Tuesday.

The indictment lists several people as apparent alleged victim's - including the president of a contracting company.

Whitaker first served on the Portsmouth school board in 2002 - then elected to city council in 2014. He has been an ordained minister for over 20 years.

News 3 has reached out to Councilman Whitaker but have not heard back.