Tag Archive: Theft

Black Collar Crime: So Much Crime, So Little Time Issue

black collar crimes

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

james ronnie messer

Pastor James “Ronnie” Messer Charged With Rape

James “Ronnie” Messer, pastor of Crossway Worship Center in Morristown, Tennessee, was arrested and charged with aggravated statutory rape and sexual battery by an authority figure.

Knox News reports:

The girl’s sister reportedly told police the 17-year-old girl rode with the pastor to the Crossway Worship Center, after their plans to go swimming in the Hartford area were derailed by swift and muddy water.

The pastor reportedly led the girl through the Worship Center’s rear entrance to a room across from the men’s restroom where he raped her.

The pastor told police he thought the assault against the underage girl was consensual, according to the report.

The good pastor thought the assault was consensual. Since when is having sex with minor church girls who are under your authority EVER consensual?

mark aderholt

Southern Baptist Missionary Mark Aderholt Charged With Sexual Assault

Mark Aderholt, a former employee of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and International Mission Board missionary, has been charged with sexually assaulting a seventeen-year-old girl.

The Baptist Press reports:

Aderholt, 46, was arrested July 3 in South Carolina and booked into the Tarrant County, Texas, jail July 9 on charges of sexual assault of a child under 17, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. He was released today (July 10) on bond.

The IMB told Baptist Press today (July 16) it learned in 2007 of allegations Aderholt had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old in 1996-97 while he was a 25-year-old student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served with the board from 2000-08.

The IMB conducted an internal investigation in 2007, and the matter was set to go before the board of trustees, “which, at that time, was the only group with the authority to terminate a member of our missionary personnel,” IMB spokesperson Julie McGowan said in written comments. But Aderholt resigned on his own “before the Board could vote on the recommendation from the investigative team that included both men and women.

….

The IMB’s 2007 investigation, including two days of interviews with the alleged victim, led an IMB team to conclude at the time that Aderholt “engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship” with a teen in 1996-1997, that the victim “suffered as a result” and that Aderholt “was not truthful” with the IMB “about the full extent of the relationship,” according to correspondence to Miller from IMB general counsel Derek Gaubatz published July 13 by the Star-Telegram.

The Southern Baptist International Mission Board investigated, concluded the allegations were credible, and did what all good Southern Baptist church leaders do: NOTHING! In fact, Aderholt continued to be a missionary and work in several capacities for the SBC until he was finally outed over his alleged crime.

Here’s a Star-Telegram feature article by Sarah Smith about Aderholt’s alleged sexual misconduct. Here’s another Sarah Smith article about Aderholt.

Imam Ahmed Raza Murders Boy With an Iron Rod

Imam Ahmed Raza  allegedly beat a young student of his to death with an iron rod. The Express Tribune reports:

A minor boy died after being subjected to physical torture by an imam at a mosque in Shalimar on Tuesday.

Police identified the victim as Abdul Ahad, who would go to the mosque where he was taught by the imam of the mosque, Ahmed Raza.

Reportedly, a few days ago Raza had beaten the child with an iron rod. When the child returned home, his condition deteriorated. His family admitted him to Kot Khwaja Saeed Hospital from where doctors shifted him to Lahore Mayo Hospital.

However, despite medical intervention, Ahad succumbed to his injuries. A police team transferred his body to the morgue for an autopsy. They also collected forensic evidence and recorded eye witness statements.

After the incident, the accused fled the area. The victim’s family lodged a complaint against the imam. Police apprehended Raza from Gujranwala and are investigating the matter further.

brian kenyon jr

Pastor Brian Kenyon Jr. Accused of Video Voyeurism

Brian Kenyon Jr, pastor of Deltona Church of Christ in Deltona, Florida, was arrested and charged with video voyeurism after a congregant reported Kenyon Jr. took a photo up her dress.

WFTV-9 reports:

The victim said she was meeting with Kenyon in his office, along with his children, and he asked her to put his youngest child into a car seat. The victim said that when she bent over, she felt skin against her leg, turned around and found Kenyon bent over directly behind her.

Deputies said the victim noticed Kenyon was holding his cellphone and it had a red light on.

Deputies say when the woman and members of the church confronted him about it he called it a misunderstanding and said he had “pornography problem.”

When they confronted the pastor about it again 11 days later, deputies say the pastor had some sort of spiritual awakening and confessed to the act saying a “dark moment” came over him.

They say he claimed to delete the photo. He was promptly dismissed from the church.

kathryn goff

Church Secretary Kathryn Goff Steals $20,000 From Beverly Hills Community Church

Kathryn Goff, the secretary for Beverly Hills Community Church in Beverly Hills, Florida was arrested and charged with stealing $20,000 from the church.  The Citrus County Chronicle reports:

Between June 2017 and April 2018, Goff, a paid employee and not a member of the church, allegedly addressed 38 checks to herself from the church’s bank account, totaling $19,426.59.

As secretary, she was allowed to write checks, but not sign them. An investigation by Citrus County Sheriff’s Office detectives determined that she would write checks with realistic amounts and record their payees in church logs as utility or service companies. Then she would take the checks to the bank and fill in her name as payee, writing in the memo line that it was for extra duties that the church never asked her to do.

kenneth marshall

Evangelical Youth Leader Kenneth Scott Marshall Indicted on Child Sex Crime Charges

Kenneth Scott Marshall, a volunteer youth leader at Cornerstone Fellowship Church in Cobbs Creek, Virginia has been indicted on child sex crime charges.

ABC-13 reports:

The Mathews County Sheriff’s Office found out about the accusation in June. Deputies said it involved a 15-year-old boy and Kenneth Scott Marshall, 36. Marshall worked with young people at Cornerstone Fellowship Church. During the course of the investigation, deputies conducted several interviews and collected evidence that they found supported the allegations.

Prosecutors presented evidence to a grand jury on July 16 which led to two indictments against Marshall. The indictments were for Aggravated Sexual Battery of a Minor through the Use of Mental Incapacity or Physical Helplessness and Forcible Sodomy of a Minor through the Use of Mental Incapacity or Physical Helplessness.

The church released the following statement:

Scott Marshall was a volunteer working with the youth at the church. Upon learning of the allegations in June, which did not occur at the church, he was immediately removed from his volunteer position and from any contact with our youth pending the outcome of the sheriff’s investigation.

pastor fernando hernandez

Evangelical Pastor Fernando Hernandez Accused of Sexual Abuse

Fernando Hernandez,  pastor of It’s a Challenge Church in Brownwood, Texas stands accused of repeatedly molesting several young girls.  Brownwood News reports:

According to the documents filed, an investigation began November 23, 2016 when the Brownwood Police Department was advised of a possible sexual assault. During a subsequent interview, the child told investigators Hernandez put his hand down her pants and touched her genitals. The child stated “this happened every time she went to Hernandez’s home,” according to the report. Hernandez also allegedly told the child not to tell anyone or he would go to prison.

On July 18, 2018 another child made an outcry of abuse. In the affidavit, the child reportedly told investigators Hernandez assaulted her by touch and exposed himself, asking the child to touch his genitals. The child’s mother told investigators she had “always wondered why (Child Victim #2) acted strange towards Hernandez.”

The affidavits also report testimony with a member of Hernandez’s family who said they do not leave children alone with Fernando due to past allegations of sexual abuse.

Based on the aforementioned news report, it sounds like Hernandez has a history of putting his hands where they don’t belong. Yet, despite knowing this, people continue to attend his church and consider him a man of God. Nobody’s perfect, right?

According to a page titled Fernando’s Dream, Hernandez is a “doctor.” This page states:

In 1990 Fernando began working in the community of Plainview and Brownwood Texas. He worked with the schools in these communities in doing assembly presentations and also offering an after school program he developed called “It’s A Challenge!” He began to reach out to many students and changed many of their lives with these assemblies and programs. He showed the students that they had a greater purpose than getting involved in drugs, gangs and violence, that they too could dream a better life for themselves.

In 1991 and 1992, Dr. Hernandez was awarded “The Volunteer Award” for the outstanding service of his assemblies and “It’s A Challenge” programs that literally helped hundreds of students transition from middle school to high school and caused the high drop out rate to decrease in those areas. By 1994 Fernando was helping thousands of BISD students weekly in his volunteer service and “It’s A Challenge” program.

Fernando began to get national recognition for his positive student programs. In 1998, encouraged by his family, friends and other prominent people within the community, Fernando exposed his life’s story worldwide. In 2001, Fernando and his student life changing programs were featured in HOME LIFE a prominent family magazine publication.

Today, Both Fernando and Lorena went back to school to obtain their Masters and Doctorate in Christian Theology. Thet continue to personally help countless thousands of people by sharing their story of poverty to triumph. They help students by sharing with them about making right choices and giving them inspiration to hope and dream for their lives. They talk about choices and consequences. They challenge students in a powerful, thought provoking way. They deliver a powerful message to students to never give up, to reach their destiny, to stay in school, to go to college, to get a degree and to make their dreams come true! Their message resonates with the students to stay away from drugs, alcohol and violence, to respect others, to respect teachers, principals and the authorities. Their message is not just a slogan or token cliche but a powerful dream which is guaranteed to burn in the hearts of young people to truly “fight to do what’s right!”

I wonder if that “fight to do what’s right” includes fighting to keep your hands out of the pants of children?

Black Collar Crime: So Many Crimes, So Little Time Issue

black collar crime

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

jeannette jives nealy

Pastor Jeannette Jives-Nealy Convicted of Money Laundering

Jeannette Jives-Nealy, pastor of Kingdom Dominion Worldwide Ministries in Memphis, Tennessee, was accused of stealing $162,000 in government funds meant for feeding poor and hungry children. Last Friday, Jives-Nealy, was convicted of money laundering.  According to the Lexington Herald Leader, Jives-Nealy has a checkered past which includes a four-year stint in prison for bilking the State of Florida out of $200,000.

joshua clemons

Evangelical Youth Pastor Joshua Clemons Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

Earlier this year, Joshua Clemons, youth pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Parker, Colorado was accused of sexually assaulting a teen church girl. You can read my previous post on Clemons here.  Monday, Clemons pleaded guilty to “one count of sexual exploitation of a child — video/20+ items and one count of attempted sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust – victim age 15-18.”

Denver-7 reports:

Clemons, who worked as a pastor at the Parker church from 2006 through September 2015, had been accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl who had long been in his program.

The relationship carried on as the girl went to college at Colorado State University before ending toward the end of last year, when the alleged victim said Clemons began to show up at her new church and she threatened to get a restraining order, according to police documents.

Clemons is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. He faces between three and nine years in prison, according to sentencing guidelines for class 4 and 5 felonies.

norman abernathy

Baptist Youth Pastor Norman Abernathy Accused of Sexually Assaulting Two Church Girls

Norman Clay Abernathy, former youth pastor at Langston Baptist Church in Conway, South Carolina, is charged with two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and three counts of second degree assault and battery. According to CB-Sumpter, Abernathy sexually assaulted two church girls at his home. The girls were visiting Abernathy’s daughter when the alleged assaults occurred.

According to the church’s pastor, Hampton Drum:

He came highly recommended. We do extensive background checks on all those who come to us. He did voluntary work all the way up to June of this year when he resigned for personal reasons. We now know those personal reasons are the accusations that came up.

What is an “extensive” background check? And how would such a check reveal past criminal sexual behavior? As churches are learning, background checks are not a cure-all for clergy and staff sexual misconduct.

pastor harry thomas

Evangelical Pastor Harry Thomas Withdraws Guilty Plea, Fears He Will Die in Prison

Harry Thomas, pastor of Come Alive Church in Medford, New Jersey and the founder of Creation Concerts (Festivals), was accused last year of sexually assaulting  four minors over a sixteen-year period. You can read my previous post about Thomas here.  In February, Thomas pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting several children.

The National Post reports that Thomas, facing twenty-years in prison, was supposed to be sentenced on Friday. Instead, Thomas withdrew his guilty plea.

chauncey walker

Evangelical Youth Pastor Chauncey Walker Pleads Guilty to Having Sex With Church Girl

Earlier this year, Chauncey Walker, youth pastor at Word of Life Ministries in Wichita, Kansas, was accused of having sex with a teen church girl. You can read my previous post on Walker here.  Friday, Walker pleaded guilty to having sex with a fifteen-year-old church girl.

The Wichita Eagle reports:

“She was 15 when it started, and it progressed from there,” the former youth pastor says on the recording, which was recorded by a relative of the girl without Walker’s knowledge. Under Kansas law, only one party needs to consent to recording a conversation.

After he had sex with the girl, she said he made her promise that if anyone asked, she was to say that it was her idea, according to an affidavit filed by a sheriff’s detective.

“Things with Walker started right after her 15th birthday,” she told a detective working the case. He “took her out for ice cream and flirted with her.” About a week later, he came to her parents’ house to see her. She said Walker was a close friend of her parents. She said she and Walker ended up in her bedroom and kissed for a while.

They later had sex at Ground Zero, the church’s youth building, in Walker’s car in the country, at his house and in different hotels, according to the girl’s account in the affidavit.

Once the allegations surfaced, Walker conceded, he wasn’t honest at first about her age “because, I’ll just be honest — I didn’t want to go to jail,” he said in the recording.

If Sedgwick County District Judge David Kaufman agrees to the terms of the plea deal, Walker will be sentenced to 95 months, or nearly 8 years.

ronnie gorton

Evangelical Worship Leader Ronnie Gorton Indicted on Additional Sex Crime Charges

In March 2018, Evangelical worship leader Ronnie Gorton was indicted on numerous sex crime charges. Gorton was employed by Awakening Church in Atoka, Tennessee. On July 10, 2018, Gorton was indicted on forty-four more sex crime charges. The Leader reports:

According to court documents, the new charges allege Gorton abused another teenaged victim from November 2014 until February 2018, when the initial accusation was made.

The 44-count indictment includes: rape of a child, 19 counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, 19 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and five counts of violating the Child Protection Act, which is continuous sexual abuse of a child.

todd shane tomko

Evangelical Pastor Todd Tomko Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

Last year, Todd “Rhino” Tomko, a disgraced U.S. Marine colonel and pastor of Parkview Church in Quincy, Illinois, was charged with “three counts of indecent liberties with a child, three counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of cruelty.” You can read my previous post on Tomko here.  Tomko later pleaded guilty, and on July 10, 2018, he was sentenced to eighteen-months in prison for his crimes.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Pastor Jerry Newton Accused of Theft

pastor jerry newton

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Jerry Newton, pastor of Greater Bogalusa Full Gospel Baptist Church in Bogalusa, Louisiana, faces federal charges stemming from his alleged theft of Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits. People receiving SSDI must be totally disabled and meet certain income guidelines. Newton failed to disclose to the Social Security Administration that he had a job and owned two businesses. The Times-Picuayune reports Newton collected $95,316 in impermissible benefits.

The U.S. Deportment of Justice — Eastern District of Lousiana, released the following statement:

U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that JERRY R. NEWTON, age 54, of Slidell, Louisiana was charged yesterday by a Bill of Information for Theft of Government Funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641.

According to the Bill of Information, NEWTON applied for Social Security disability benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act.  A person receiving disability benefits must truthfully disclose to the Social Security Administration any employment or income while getting the government money.  In forms submitted to the SSA, NEWTON failed to disclose that he was the paid pastor of Bogalusa Baptist Church since May of 2007 and that he owned two businesses, Still Dreaming Graphics, LLC and Kclean Sweep, a cleaning service.  Due to his concealing of his salary and income produced from his businesses, NEWTON received a total of $95,316 in DIB benefits to which he was not entitled.

U. S. Attorney Evans reiterated that a Bill of Information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, NEWTON faces a maximum penalty of ten (10) years imprisonment, followed by up to three (3) years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and a mandatory $100 special assessment, as well as restitution to the Social Security Administration

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by Carter K. D. Guice, Jr. Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor David Wright Charged with Theft

ashley and david wright

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

David Wright, pastor of The Revival Church in La Harpe, Kansas, was arrested and taken into custody on a theft charge from Rule, Texas. Wright’s wife,Ashley, was arrested for hindering the arrest of her husband. Wright also faces a local charge of impersonating an  officer.

KOAM-7 reports:

Allen County Sheriff Bryan Murphy says the La Harpe Police Chief is in custody over a theft charge from Texas. Authorities arrested Police Chief Ashley Wright Tuesday morning along with her husband David, who has a warrant out of Rule, TX where David was a former police chief. Sheriff Murphy says Chief Ashley Wright’s arrest was because she refused to let deputies enter their home to execute the warrant against her husband. David ran from the home but was taken into custody outside.

The couple lives in the old La Harpe Methodist Episcopal Church, where David serves as the pastor. Sheriff Murphy says David also faces a local charge of impersonating an officer for reportedly acting on his wife’s behalf in La Harpe as well as the theft charge from Texas. Texas prosecutors charged David in June 2016 after he was dismissed as the Rule Police Chief. His firing came in October 2015 for improper investigation involving a boy assaulting his daughter in school. According to court documents, David refused to turn in his badge and identification that lead to theft charge. David is being held on no bond until his extradition hearing.

….

A January 17, 2018 post on the City of La Harpe website gives the “reasons” the Wrights came to La Harpe:

Ashley and David Wright’s belief that God wanted them to start a church led them to invest all their money into an abandoned church in LaHarpe.

“We don’t have a dime but we’re very wealthy in spirit,” David said. “We have nothing. We are nobody. It’s all God. He sent us here to revive the area. We know He’s going to provide.”

The couple met through their jobs in law enforcement. Ashley originally is from Fort Worth, Texas, and David is from Baltimore, Md. Together, they decided to leave their jobs and devote their time in service to God. They both grew up in a Baptist religion. David has no formal theological training but said he is ordained through an apostolic church in Virginia.

Previous to coming to LaHarpe six weeks ago they lived “off the grid” in rural Montana.

Along with Ashley’s three daughters, they suffered through bitter cold temperatures with no utilities and no running water.

Ashley said she survived close calls on harrowing mountain roads with an hour and a half drive to work.

“We had true miracles on that mountain,” Ashley said.

While Ashley worked, David studied the word of God.

“It was just me and God on that mountain, all day and all night to hear His voice,” David said.

After about two years, the couple felt God wanted them to lead a church. They explored options on the East Coast and were on their way to see a church in Pennsylvania when their SUV engine blew a head gasket. While stranded in a small town in Wisconsin they saw an online listing for a church for sale in LaHarpe.

The couple has no ties to the area.

“God is in Kansas,” David said. “I said, OK, that’s where He wants us to go.”

The couple invested their savings and money from the sale of their Montana property, about $20,000, into the church, which they have named “The Revival Church.”

Since the purchase, the couple said they have discovered the church needs significantly more work than they initially assumed.

….

The couple can’t yet have services in the sanctuary because the area is not heated. They plan to have a special service at 6 tonight with a meal, music and a brief message. Their church is non-denominational and not affiliated with any religious organization, but the Wrights consider it to be an “apostolic church.” They said they are in the process of obtaining tax exempt status with a 501(c)(3) designation.

“I just want everyone to feel the Holy Spirit,” Ashley said.

“We’re here to take the area back for the Kingdom of God,” David said. “It all starts with obedience and God’s love.”

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor John Elleson Running for Congress, Has a Sketchy Past

john elleson
The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

John Elleson, an Evangelical pastor, is running in the Illinois Republican primary, hoping to win an opportunity to challenge U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky in November’s general election. According to the following Chicago Tribune story, Elleson has a sketchy past.

Kim Janssen, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, writes:

Arlington Heights pastor John Elleson, who is making a bid for Congress, risked the ire of multimillionaire televangelist Joel Osteen by including Osteen in a recent TV ad without Osteen’s permission.

But Osteen isn’t the only fellow pastor Elleson has upset over the years, court records show.

Elleson — who’s running in the Republican primary to challenge U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky in November’s general election — was ordered by a judge to complete 150 hours of community service and to return $49,000 in benefit payments he’d improperly collected after pleading “no contest” to a first degree theft charge in Hawaii in 2003, court records show.

Prosecutors alleged that Elleson and his wife, Suzanne Elleson, who pleaded “no contest” to second-degree theft, had lied about how they were feeding teenagers who attended a religious drug addiction rehabilitation service Elleson ran, so that they could illegally squeeze extra money out of taxpayers.

According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the state probe of Elleson began after a teenage client alleged the Ellesons required him and other clients to apply for benefits, then turn over their benefits cards to Suzanne Elleson or face being kicked out of the program.

That wasn’t the end of Elleson’s problems tied to the rehab program. After the church that had hired him to run the program fired him for his “contentious and noncooperative spirit” and his “assumption of dictatorial authority over an assembly,” Elleson was sued by the church for continuing to use their “Teen Challenge” trademark without permission.

A judge found that Elleson had “willfully engaged in . . . deceptive trade practices,” ordered him to stop and told him to pay the church’s legal costs.

Elleson has fought with a neighboring church in Illinois, too. According to a 2010 lawsuit, Arlington Heights police were, on more than one occasion, called to intervene in a dispute Elleson’s Lakewood Chapel had with the Bethel Pentecostal Church of God.

Elleson sold Bethel half of his church, but after his plan to build a wall dividing the worship area into two was rejected by the village, he “repeatedly interrupted” Sunday services at Bethel by cutting off the electricity to the public address system, removing microphones from the podium during services, and by playing loud music and projection screen TVs during services, according to the lawsuit.

A Cook County jury sided with Bethel, ordering Elleson’s church to pay Bethel $257,600, plus costs.

….

He described “the Hawaii thing” as “an unfortunate time in our lives,” and said he would not have been charged under current law.

“Everybody who knows me, knows I am an open book,” he wrote. “I have nothing to hide. I have shared everything you mentioned, opening with the church I pastor, and anyone who listens to my recorded sermons.”

He added, “In every one of the things you mentioned, there are no rifts with any of the people today. In life you will have conflicts, but we have tried to bring peace to every situation when possible.”

Elleson wrote that he was “not aware of” a 1998 criminal damage conviction he holds in Cook County, according to court records, which indicate he plead guilty to the misdemeanor.

“I have a clean record,” he wrote.

Elleson is the pastor of Lakewood Chapel in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

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Black Collar Crime: Church Treasurer Barbara Fouts Accused of Stealing $25,000

theft cartoon

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Barbara L. Fouts, church treasurer for Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church in Dennison, Ohio, has been accused stealing almost $25,000 from church accounts.

The Times Reporter states:

A 56-year-old woman who served as treasurer of Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church for 25 years has been charged with two counts of grand theft, accused of taking more than $24,000 from the church over five years.

Defendant Barbara L. Fouts, of the Dennison area, has pleaded not guilty to the Nov. 20 indictment. Her next court date is March 21, when a pretrial conference is scheduled with Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Judge Edward O’Farrell.

The alleged theft was found after a change in church leadership, according to assistant county prosecutor Scott Deedrick.

“A new pastor was installed at the church and quickly determined that there were issues concerning the finances,” Deedrick told The Times-Reporter in an email. “Inquiries by he and others were unanswered. Certain officers including the defendant ultimately resigned their positions leading to the installation of other officers. The information/documentation that they were able to obtain was incomplete, questions remained unanswered and new questions arose.

“This led to the (church) having a forensic accounting of the records that could be cobbled together.”

The audit investigating the suspected embezzlement covered the five-year period ending Dec. 31, 2016, Deedrick said.

“The accountant found that there were $63,299.60 in disbursements that could not be accounted for due to lack of records,” Deedrick wrote. “There were $43,911.72 of disbursements not authorized by the (church board).”

Of this amount, $33,769.55 was disbursed by Fouts in her role as church treasurer, Deedrick said.

“Of that amount, $24,283.67 is alleged to have been disbursed by (Fouts) to herself or for her benefit,” Deedrick said. “It is this amount that forms the basis for the indictment in this matter. The (church) received insurance proceeds of $10,000.”

….

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Under Investigation for Misconduct Jumps Off Building

james csaszar

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

James Csaszar, parish priest at Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, Ohio and former priest at St. Rose of Lima Parish in New Lexington, Ohio, jumped from a Chicago hotel Wednesday, plunging to his death. Csaszar was under investigation for  “questionable communications with a minor and possible misuse of church funds.”

Fox News reports:

A Catholic diocese in Ohio says a parish priest under investigation for “questionable” communications with a minor and possible misuse of church funds killed himself.

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus said in a statement Thursday that the Rev. James Csaszar killed himself Wednesday in Chicago. Csaszar was pastor of Church of the Resurrection in the Columbus suburb of New Albany.

The diocese’s statement says Csaszar was placed on administrative leave last month when officials learned of “excessive and questionable” text and phone communications with a minor and possible misuse of funds while pastor at St. Rose of Lima Parish in New Lexington.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation began looking into Csaszar after the diocese learned of the allegations and contacted police in New Lexington, roughly 55 miles (89 kilometers) southeast of Columbus.

The Chicago Tribune adds:

A man who killed himself by jumping off a downtown Chicago hotel on Wednesday was a Catholic priest under investigation in Ohio in connection with “questionable” communications with a minor and misuse of church funds, according to authorities.

A man identified by authorities as James Csaszar was a priest who was pastor of Church of the Resurrection in the Columbus suburb of New Albany, according to a statement from the Catholic Diocese of Columbus. Csaszar, 44, died after suffering multiple injuries after jumping from 221 N. Columbus Drive — the Aqua Hotel — and his death was a suicide, the Cook County medical examiner’s office determined Thursday following an autopsy.

….

Statement by Frederick Campbell, Bishop of Columbus:

It is with deep shock and sadness that we have learned of the death of Father James Csaszar, pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, who took his own life yesterday in Chicago.

On November 7, Father Csaszar was placed on an administrative leave by the Diocese of Columbus after diocesan officials were made aware of excessive and questionable text and telephone communications with a minor and potential misuse of church funds while serving as pastor of St. Rose Parish, New Lexington. Following a diocesan review of the matter, the New Lexington Police were contacted and all information was turned over to them and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for their review; an investigation was being conducted at the time of Father Csaszar’s death.

We are reminded throughout sacred scripture that God our Father is loving, merciful, compassionate and forgiving. We also know that in his years of priestly ministry Fr. Csaszar did many good things for the people that he served in his parish assignments. And so we ask that everyone pray for Father Csaszar, his family, friends, and parishioners during this most difficult time.

An April 10, 2018 Channel 10 news report states:

Father James Csaszar, who was a member of the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, took his life on December 20, 2017. He was 44-years old.

Father Csaszar was under investigation at the time by the New Lexington, Ohio Police Department regarding stolen funds at the St. Rose Parish in New Lexington as well as inappropriate conversations with a minor child.

According to a statement released Wednesday from the Diocese, the investigation into Father Csaszar is concluded and the following was substantiated:

*Inappropriate communication had taken place between the minor child over a period of time.

*The minor stated that while texting conversations with Father Csaszar became “weird” and at times minor felt bullied and blackmailed by him, no inappropriate physical contact had taken place.

*Father Csaszar stated in one text messages that he was in possession of a nude photo of a minor.

According to the letter sent to members of the Church of the Resurrection, Father Csaszar was approached by Reverend Frederick Campbell, Bishop of Columbus about the allegations regarding the minor child.

“He admitted wrongdoing…including possession of a nude photo of a minor that was sent to him by an allegedly unknown person or persons. Father Csazar never reported the photo to the minor’s parents, law enforcement or the Diocese,” according to the Bishop.

After that conversation, the church says they placed Father Csaszar on leave of absence until the police investigation was completed.

The Diocese says it fully cooperated with police.

The investigation also found “financial irregularities” at the Perry County Consortium of the Parishes. It was never determined how much money was missing, according to police.

….

Black Collar Crime: Thieving Evangelical Pastor Terry Wells Pays Restitution to Avoid Prison

pastor terry wells

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Terry Wells, pastor of My Brother’s Keeper Outreach Ministries in Trenton, New Jersey, avoided prison Friday by paying restitution to a family he bilked out of thousands of dollars.

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, a reporter for The Trentonian, writes:

The Rev. Terry Wells, 42, pastor of My Brother’s Keeper Outreach Ministries, duped a family into financial loss over two years ago but appeared in Mercer County Superior Court on Friday to try to make things right.

Dressed up in a suit and tie, Wells formally presented the victimized family with $5,300 via cashier’s check on Friday. He still owes $6,700, and the state has the right to terminate his plea agreement and prosecute him on numerous counts of credit card theft, forgery and theft by deception if he fails to pay the balance by Jan. 5, 2018.

Wells gained the trust of the local family through his ministry and then exploited them as the unwitting victims of his deception. The whole shebang is presented as a misdemeanor under his plea agreement, but the pastor was originally accused of achieving self-enrichment through a staggering set of devilish deeds.

A grand jury in April 2016 handed up a 23-count indictment charging Wells with a litany of offenses on allegations he bilked thousands of dollars from the victimized family and spent their cash and charged their credit cards throughout Mercer County.

Wells, a Trenton resident, fell from grace in 2015 after police in Ewing, Lawrence and Hamilton charged him with theft-related crimes. Court records show he was committed to jail on Oct. 13, 2015, but got released the next day on bail, which was set at 10 percent of $80,000 cash bail. All of those charges were merged into one case that became the 23-count indictment.

Seeking to resolve the matter without going to trial, Wells accepted a plea agreement that calls for prosecutors to dismiss the 23-count indictment in exchange for him pleading guilty to one count of a downgraded theft charge and agreeing to pay $12,000 in restitution to the victimized family.

….

In addition to his 2015 theft by deception case that spawned the 23-count indictment, court records show Wells has also been charged with third-degree insurance fraud for an incident that occurred in Trenton on Jan. 30.

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Church Accounting Clerk Barbara Snyder Convicted of Fraud

theft cartoon

Barbara Snyder, an accounting clerk at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Onalaska, Wisconsin, was convicted of stealing more than $800,000 from the church, using the money to gamble.

Anne Jungen, a reporter for the LaCrosse Tribune wrote in August, 2017:

The former accounting clerk at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Onalaska was convicted Friday of two federal charges that accused of her stealing more than $800,000 from church donors and falsifying her tax return.

Barbara Snyder, 59, between January 2006 and December 2015 received weekly church donations and paperwork documenting the amount collected. She was responsible for retaining the paperwork, depositing collections and maintaining accounting records reported annually online to a financial services company with a server based in Ohio.

During her tenure, Snyder misappropriated $832,210 for “the purposes of wagering such funds at nearby casinos,” falsified accounting records and bank deposit slips and covered her misconduct by throwing out paperwork that documented actual church donations, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Madison.
Snyder reported an income of $162,949 on her 2015 tax return, although prosecutors contend her income “was greater than that reported,” the complaint reported.

She pleaded guilty to wire fraud and making false statements on tax returns and agreed to make restitution as part of the agreement.

….

Yesterday, Snyder was sentenced to four years in prison.

A former accounting clerk at a church in Onalaska has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for stealing from her congregation.

Fifty-nine-year-old Barbara Snyder, of West Salem, was accused of stealing more than $800,000 from St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church when she was responsible for depositing church collections and maintaining accounting records between 2006 and 2015. Authorities said she used the money to gamble at casinos.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Greg Bolusan Accused of Robbing Las Vegas Casino Three Times

greg bolusan

Greg Bolusan, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, was arrested for robbing a Vegas casino three times since August.

Channel 8 reports:

A local man was arrested for robbing the M Resort a total of three times since August.  Henderson Police said Gregory Bolusan has stolen more than $63,000 from the casino.

According to officers, Bolusan showed a gun each time he allegedly robbed the casino cage. Police say the incidents happened on Aug. 24, Sept. 10 and Oct. 28.

The first time the cage was hit, Bolusan fled the scene without any money because when he showed the gun and demanded money, the employee took off.  The second time, he got away with $29,000.

The third time was the charm for police because although Bolusan allegedly robbed the casino of $33,000, he was caught by security at the M Resort.  That’s when authorities discovered Boluson’s gun was fake, police said.

Bolusan who was taken into custody by Henderson Police faces burglary, attempted robbery and robbery charges. Police say Bolusan is a pastor at a local church.

ABC-13 reports that Bolusan’s wife wife worked at the casino during the time of the robberies.

Bolusan’s bio states:

Greg Bolusan is the Senior Pastor of Grace Bible Church Las Vegas, a multi-generational church committed to loving God, loving people and making disciples. He has a heart to raise leaders in the next generation of young people. Pastor Greg believes that the city of Las Vegas, also known as the city of sin, needs people who will take time to build authentic relationships winning the lost into a relationship with Jesus.

Prior to becoming a pastor, Greg served as the Operations Director at Grace Bible Church Pearlside. Born and raised in Hawaii, Pastor Greg now resides in Las Vegas, NV with his wife Lea and their daughter ****. Their oldest, son ****, continues to reside on Oahu, HI where he is currently serving as the Youth Pastor for Grace Bible Church Pearlside.

 

Black Collar Crime: Pastor’s Son James Holvick Accused of Stealing $28,000 From Church

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James Holvick, a pastor’s son and treasurer for Riverview Bible Baptist Church and Christian School in Forsyth, Missouri, stands accused of stealing $28,000 from the church.

KY-3 reports:

A Forsyth man is facing a felony stealing charge after allegedly stealing $27,758 from the churched he worked at – and where his father was once pastor.

James Holvick, 42, allegedly wrote himself checks and then cooked the books while working as an accountant for Riverview Bible Baptist Church.

Pastor Jim Brooks, who declined a formal interview, said Holvick has repaid the church for the missing money.

Prosecutors say that someone found a check made out to Holvick in June, and began asking questions, which eventually uncovered the larger fraud.

Court documents say that Holvick claimed he’d only been taking money for a year, but that checks were found dating back further than that.

Holvick’s father was pastor of Riverview Bible Baptist Church for 31 years before retiring in the late 2000’s. Pastor Brooks says his congregation was stunned when they learned of the embezzlement, but they’re healing.

The felony count of stealing could carry a 10-year prison sentence. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

According to various news reports, Holvick has already repaid the stolen money to the church.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Pastor Riley Brown Accused of Stealing $332,000 From Church

pastor riley brown

Riley Brown, executive pastor of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison, Mississippi, stands accused of stealing $332,000 from the church. At this time, Broadmoor is not pressing charges.

The Clarion-Ledger reports:

A Baptist pastor is accused of stealing more than $300,000 over more than two years.

In an emailed statement, officials with Broadmoor Baptist Church said former executive pastor Riley Brown took $332,000 from the church coffers over a “primarily” 27-month period.

Brown could not be reached for comment.

The “transactions” were discovered after an internal policy review in September, according to the statement.

“These transactions were undertaken by one individual, Riley Brown, circumventing our existing internal policies and procedures,” the statement read.

Brown is no longer employed with the church. Church officials are reporting the matter to the Internal Revenue Service and the Mississippi Department of Revenue.

The church will not press criminal charges but will cooperate with prosecutors, according to the emailed statement. Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest was not immediately available.

“As a body of Christ, we sought to find a proper balance between accountability and grace; and given our exchanges in personnel and significant new safeguards and internal controls we have added, and will continue to add, we are confident we can responsibly steward the resources entrusted to us,” the statement reads. “While we choose not to press criminal charges against this individual, we will fully cooperate with prosecutors if it is independently pursued.”

Update

An October 27, 2017 MS News Now report states:

Broadmoor released a statement that an internal policy review showed that more than $330 thousand dollars was unaccounted for.

The church also said that Brown was no longer with the church and that findings were turned over to the IRS and the Dept of Revenue.

Though he would not take any questions, Brown spoke to us exclusively about the situation.

“I am innocent of any alleged theft. This is a civil matter that was settled two weeks ago.”

….

Email statement from church:

“As a body of Christ, we sought to find a proper balance between accountability and grace; and given our exchanges in personnel and significant new safeguards and internal controls we have added, and will continue to add, we are confident we can responsibly steward the resources entrusted to us. While we choose not to press criminal charges against this individual, we will fully cooperate with prosecutors if it is independently pursued.”

In an October 31, 2017 Clarion-Ledger news report, Brown denies he stole any money from the church:

The former pastor of a central Mississippi Baptist church disputes claims that he stole $332,000 from the church.

The Rev. Riley Brown tells WLBT-TV that he’s innocent of any theft and signed a civil settlement with Broadmoor Baptist Church two weeks ago.

The Southern Baptist congregation in Madison is among the largest in the state.

More: Church says pastor stole over $300,000 from coffers

The church last week said Brown made unauthorized transactions for his own benefit over 27 months. Brown’s lawyer says it’s a dispute over church policy, not a criminal matter.

Broadmoor’s leaders say they’re not pressing charges but have notified income tax officials.

Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest says he was unaware of the claims before the church released a statement but is investigating. The church says it will cooperate if Guest intervenes.