Pastor accused of swindling Bonita church

News-Press, Fort Myers Florida/March 11, 2010

Henry Judy, the pastor of Life Point Church in Bonita Springs, is being accused by parishioners of bilking them out of $60,000.

Judy could not be reached for comment, but the Lee County Sheriff's Office is investigating.

Parishioner Debra Adams-Bateman filed a complaint with the sheriff's office Economic Crimes Unit on March 11.

Judy is alleged to have misappropriated church funds and scheming parishioners out of their time and money.

The church at 28340 Trails Edge Blvd. closed Feb 28, Adams-Bateman said.

"The members - most of them anyway - just walked out," she said.

"He was in complete control of the funds and when we asked him to turn them over, he refused," she said.

Judy allegedly used funds raised by parishioners to pay the church's rent, but there was one problem, the church was granted four months of free rent by its landlord, according to the sheriff's report.

"He was telling parishioners that he was paying rent when he was getting free rent," Adams-Bateman said.

Additional money the church received also disappeared, but bank statements showed this money was mostly for Judy's personal use to pay his own rent and frequent trips to Burger King and Starbucks.

Adams-Bateman said she and the congregation wish to prosecute.

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