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Local Pastor Accused of Stealing from Non-Profit

4:33 PM, Jan 14, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  A local pastor is accused of stealing $77,000 from the Community Rehabilitation Center.

"It's not scary. It's sick, and it's sad," said Kenneth Adkins.

And it has rocked the Springfield non-profit organization.

Two of the people suspected of stealing money from the center worked there, Adkins said. One of them is Pastor Johnny McCray.

Adkins said McCray would invite people he counseled at the rehab center to join his church on Fairfax.

"Some people, like pastors, are held at a higher level of accountability," he said.

McCray worked with mentally ill and homeless people at the rehab center, and Adkins said he was a trusted part of their community.

"To have people who you thought were like family, to turn around and stab you like this, it just makes you want to take a second look at what you do," he said.  

Police said McCray used his position at the center and the church to trick people in to giving out their personal information.

"You go to church and you think it's a place you can be very honest and giving and you don't think that people are going to take advantage of you," said JSO Public Information Officer Melissa Bujeda.  

McCray used grant money from the center to pay for his church, his bills, and for spending money, and Bujeda said he used the personal information of his church members to make checks generated in their names. The victims, Bujeda said, had no idea.


"It took many months. This was a thorough investigation with a lot of details. When you're dealing with funds and money and bookkeeping, it's very step by step by step," she said.

The Community Rehabilitation Center initially uncovered the theft months ago and fired McCray, according to a statement from Tameka Gaines, the center's Director of Programs and Compliance Officer.

The statement reads:

"Community Rehabilitation Center, Inc. is outraged by the alleged activities of our former employees, Sauna Hicks and Johnny McCray.  They were both trusted employees who had been with the agency for many years.  Our current policies include conducting internal audits, which led to Ms. Hicks' termination in April of last year.  After additional review, we found further questionable actions and contacted the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.  Mr. McCray also worked with our organization, but was terminated due to unrelated reasons before JSO named him as a suspect in this investigation.  We appreciate the hard work of JSO and we look forward to seeing justice served. CRC's policies exposed this alleged crime and we will continue to be vigilant as we carry on our mission of providing social services to the underserved."

And while insurance will cover most of the missing money, Adkins said CRC will never earn back the trust lost as a result of this incident.

"It's very frustrating when you have people you trust, people who are in charge of helping people, who become dishonest.  It's disheartening," said Adkins.

Police are still searching for three people they believe are involved in the scam: Robyn Hicks Melton, Cynthia Harris, and Phyllis Ray.

If you have any information, police ask you to call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.






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