Rev. Corey MeGill Brown was indicted on 85 counts of wire fraud and 12 counts of mail fraud.
Rev. Corey Megill Brown
Brown kept the account a secret from the church’s board, elders and deacons, the indictment said, as “he was embezzling, stealing, misappropriating, and unlawfully converting money intended as tithes and offerings for Second African Baptist Church for his own personal benefit.”
Brown did not immediately return phone messages left at his home Thursday. Court records did not list an attorney for Brown, and he was not scheduled to appear before a judge until his arraignment May 18.
For about 15 years, Brown served as senior pastor at Second African Baptist Church, established in 1807 by a congregation consisting largely of free blacks. He was also a Savannah-Chatham County police chaplain from 2010 to 2014, a period when federal authorities say Brown was stealing from his church.
Rev. Brown “embezzled, stole, misappropriated, and converted to his own use donations made to the Second African Baptist Church, in an amount more than $250,000”
Michelle Gavin, a police spokeswoman, said in a statement that Brown’s affiliation with the police department “ended immediately” when its leaders learned the pastor was under investigation in December 2014. Brown left Second African that year as well.
According to the indictment, Brown received offerings mailed in by church members who were unable to attend services and deposited them in his secret account. It said he used that account to withdraw cash and write checks payable to himself that were deposited in his personal bank account.
Brown also used an ATM card from his secret church account for personal shopping, the indictment said, including a $312 online purchase from Saddleback Leather Company and nearly $53 spent at Victoria’s Secret.