Micah Dexter, pastor of The Salem Church in Syracuse, New York, was convicted of forgery and sentenced to 1-3 years in prison.
Douglass Dowty, a reporter for Syracuse.com, writes:
A Syracuse minister gave a sermon-length plea for mercy today after being found guilty of forging documents to steal a South Side house.
The Rev. Micah Dexter cast blame on the mayor, police chief and the assistant prosecutor for what amounted to a political witch hunt.
He suggested that his unfair treatment showed “why this country is divided between Hillary and Donald Trump.”
He even claimed that state Supreme Court Justice John Brunetti reneged on a promise not to send him to state prison.
When Dexter was done, Brunetti said that the monetary and non-monetary damage that Dexter did by stealing a man’s house “is almost incalculable.”
The judge said he wished he could order Dexter to pay restitution, too.
“There is more fraud in this case than I have ever seen,” Brunetti said.
The judge said that he never made the promise that Dexter claimed. And he said that Dexter continued his fraud in court today.
With that, the judge sent Dexter to prison for 1 to 3 years. Dexter, who was free on bail and came to court in a suit, was handcuffed and led away.
Dexter was convicted of forging a signature page of a deed that gave him the property from its rightful owner, James Greene, of South Carolina.
Greene had grown up in the residence, prosecutor Lindsey Luczka said today.
Dexter’s actions caused a four-year ordeal for Greene. His house was finally returned to him recently, she said.
Luczka noted that Dexter, even after being convicted, was back in another court over a dispute involving another house he lived in. He claimed to own that one, too, she said.
Dexter clearly hadn’t learned his lesson, she said.
A probation department report concluded that Dexter “has a confusing relationship with the truth.” The report noted that Dexter presents himself as a religious and civil rights leader, “but he doesn’t live that way,” according to an excerpt read in court.
Ultimately, probation said, Dexter was “not a candidate for rehabilitation” and should be incarcerated.
Dexter has refused to accept responsibility and claimed his conviction would be overturned on appeal, Luczka added, from the report.
This was “calculated theivery, not a momentary lack of judgment,” she said, noting that Dexter had been accused of a similar scam in Florida.
Dexter’s lawyer, Graeme Spicer, objected to the characterization that Dexter was taking advantage of his religious role for personal gain.