West Tulsa Pastor Accused of Using Church Funds for Personal Use
Federal authorities are accusing a west Tulsa pastor this week of using funds from his church and community center.
Few details were made available at this time, but the U.S. attorney's office stated that a press conference would be held Wednesday afternoon. Willard Lenord Jones, pastor of the Greater Cornerstone Baptist Church, faces major financial fraud criminal charges.
"Jones devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud the Community Center and the Board of Directors of the Community Center," documents obtained by KTUL describe. "And to obtain their money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises."
Prosecutors further described that Jones used funds from the church and from the Cornerstone Community Center to purchase luxury items. These included hotels, liquor, automobiles and at casinos.\
"Jones would and did unlawfully divert Community Center funds for his own personal benefit in the approximate amount of $933,507.80," the documents state. He reportedly withdrew large amounts of cash from the church bank account on occasion.
Authorities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service were involved in the investigation. No other details were given on the case or the investigation that lead to authorities filing charges against Jones.
Jones' church is located near 33rd West Avenue and West 61st Street South. Information from their website states that the church was founded in 1927 and that Jones and his wife have been at the church since 1996.