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Former pastor begins criminal defense for stealing, forgery

An arrest warrant has been issued for a former Dexter pastor. The Missouri ex-pastor has been accused of stealing over $100,000 from his church, and he is charged with forgery and felony stealing. It is not clear whether the warrant was only issued or whether the 35-year-old is in police custody. Nevertheless, he is likely focused on preparing his criminal defense.

According to the criminal complaint, the alleged theft began on April 1, 2012 when the pastor illegally appropriated over $65,000 from the church. Eleven days later, the pastor then supposedly forged a document giving him the authority to conduct business transactions for the church. On Aug. 2, an investigation into these incidents began by the authorities.

The church members claim that they allowed the pastor to resign on May 5, 2013. However, there was reportedly no money in the church's bank accounts, and the bills had not been paid at the time he left. Members of the church also claim that the pastor was withdrawing $500 at a time from the church's funds at the ATM.

The report is unclear on whether the pastor has been arrested yet, but reportedly he has been formally charged according to the arrest warrant. Once the pastor is in fact arrested, he will have to focus on his criminal defense against the charges. With white-collar crimes, it can be hard to prove that an individual actually committed the crimes of which they are accused. If sufficient evidence to support his charges cannot be presented in court, then the charges against the Missouri pastor will likely be reduced or possibly even dropped from the court record entirely.

Source: semissourian.com, "Arrest warrant issued for former Dexter, Mo., pastor", Michelle Friedrich, Sept. 3, 2014

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Former pastor begins criminal defense for stealing, forgery | The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith