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Accused Minister Facing New Charges

Posted on in White Collar Crime

A Naperville minister who has been free on a $250,000 bond since May 2010 may have to raise another $750,000 in order to stay out of jail. Howard Richmond, 51, was accused two years ago of swindling parishioners of the church he founded, Life Reach Ministries Worldwide, out of $475,000.

The church operated out of an Aurora storefront. Police say Richmond convinced three members he was borrowing the money from them in order to purchase land for the church. He allegedly paid a bank employee to produce fake financial documents, showing that Richmond himself had millions of dollars. Richmond was charged with a total of eleven counts of theft by deception, deception, financial institution fraud and continuing a financial crimes enterprise. One of his alleged victims, a doctor from Skokie, gave Richmond $400,000.

Richmond has now been accused of a new crime. He has been charged with deceptive practice/bad checks and conspiracy to commit a financial crime of more than $100,000 Prosecutors want his bail to either be revoked or increased to a million dollars.

The Chicago Tribune reports that in December 2011, Richmond allegedly wrote out a check for $114,000 to the realty company that managed the property his church was located at. The check was supposed to cover back and current rent owed. Prosecutors say that Richmond told an associate to write out a check from the associate’s personal account and that Richmond would cover the check. He never did and the check bounced.

If you have been charged with writing bad checks, or any other financial fraud, make sure you consult with an experienced Naperville, Illinois criminal defense attorney to represent you.

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