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Pastor accused of white collar crime to help pay for addiction

If you drive west of Cincinnati on the interstate for a couple of hours, you will come to Columbus, Indiana. The city received some national attention back in December when a pastor there reported that his home had been robbed of more than $11,000 in cash, jewelry and more while he had been out preaching.

A few days ago the 38-year-old pastor was arrested on a felony charge of insurance fraud. He is also accused of contributing to the delinquency of a minor by allegedly staging the burglary with a juvenile to pay off a drug debt.

The senior minister at First Christian Church officials that he and his family were away from their home when cash (including the contents of his daughter's piggy bank), jewelry, a TV, X-box, computers and more were taken. According to media reports, the church's congregation and city residents responded to the news with "an outpouring of kindness."

Two city police officers went out the day the alleged break-in was reported and bought the family a new television.

The clergyman told reporters that he and his family had prayed for whoever had stolen from them. “Really, they are the ones who are truly struggling,” he said.

Detectives investigating the burglary found that parts of the story did not add up. There were no signs of forced entry into the house and the thieves had left untouched Christmas presents out in the open.

In an unrelated investigation, a juvenile told police that he had a drug addiction problem; one similar to the addiction the pastor struggled with as well. The juvenile reportedly told police that he had been procuring drugs for the pastor, who had fallen behind on payments for marijuana, pain pills and heroin.

The pastor then allegedly hatched the plan for the faked burglary.

No one knows yet how the allegations in this case will be resolved, but it is clear that untreated addictions have led to serious legal problems for many good people. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help to minimize punishments for mistakes while you focus on recovery and treatment.


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