Queens Pastor Accused Of Church Theft

1010Wins.com/September 30, 2004

New York -- A former pastor of a Baptist church in Queens, his secretary and her husband are being charged with embezzling nearly half a (M) million dollars in church funds.

Queens prosecutors say that Charles Betts, the former pastor of the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Jamaica, Queens, and two others are charged in an indictment with grand larceny and falsifying business records.

They allegedly diverted more than $494-thousand dollars from the church treasury between 1996 and 2003.

Betts, who lives in Brandon, Florida, his former assistant, Anna Kilpatrick, of Freeport, Long Island and her husband, Barry Kilpatrick, each faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The Kilpatricks pleaded not guilty. Bond is set at 150-thousand dollars for the wife and at 50-thousand dollars for the husband. A warrant has been issued for Betts.

The charges allege that the defendants acted together in taking the funds from the church without the permission of its board of directors for personal luxuries.

Church officials discovered the irregularities after conducting an audit in January 2003.

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