Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pastor Pillage of $1 million

by Gary Snyder

A judge sentenced the former pastor of the Greater Cornerstone Baptist Church in Tulsa (OK) to a 37-month prison term and ordered him to repay nearly $1 million in funds prosecutors say he “pillaged” from a nonprofit he once led.

Records filed in the case indicate Jones over a nearly six-year period used a nonprofit agency’s funding stream as his personal piggy bank.
“From what we can tell, he used it to live a very lavish lifestyle,” U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams said.
The former church pastor spent the money on expensive travel, clothing, liquor and “gambled quite a bit,” according to Williams. 

Pursuant to the plea agreement, Jones will forfeit his residence; a full-length mink coat monogrammed with “J.J. Jones” and matching gloves; and a Rolex watch, court records indicate. “I’m optimistic that they will get some of the monies back. I don’t think that he’s going to have the ability to pay almost a million dollars in his lifetime,” Williams said.

Federal prosecutors, in court documents, said Jones “did a good thing” when he helped to raise funds for the community center.

“He did a far worse thing when he pillaged its treasury for his personal vanity, nearly destroying the center in the process,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Leitch said in a pre-sentencing court filing.

“He stole almost one million dollars, flaunted the tax consequences and didn’t stop until he was caught."
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