Former pastor sentenced to 2 years, must pay church $178K
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Corey MeGill Brown, a former pastor of the Second African Baptist Church of Savannah, was sentenced Friday by a federal judge to 28 months in prison for defrauding the church and its members for more than six years.
Brown pleaded guilty last year to a single count of mail fraud.
After serving the prison time, Brown will remain on supervised release for three years. He was also ordered to pay the church $178,140 in restitution.
Prosecutors said Brown intercepted checks and other money sent to the church as tithes and offerings between 2008 and February 2014, and deposited the stolen money into an account that only he controlled and that other church leaders did not know existed. Evidence was shown that Brown opened his shadow bank account under the name “Romans 12 Ministries" and wrote checks to himself that were deposited in his personal bank accounts or used a debit card tied to the shadow account to make purchases from such places as leather goods stores and lingerie shops.
Brown initially pleaded not guilty to the charges but changed his plea in December.
“Brown’s parishioners thought they were offering their hard earned savings so their church could do good works. Little did they know, Brown’s idea of good work was to line his own pockets," Southern District of Georgia acting U.S. Attorney Durham said. "Whether you’re an attorney or accountant, a physician or pastor, if you steal from the good folks that trust you the most, then you’ll next serve time at a federal prison.”
Brown was pastor of the Second African Baptist Church on Houston Street from 1999 to 2014.
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