Aurora church pastor charged with theft

May 19, 2010 10:40:22 AM PDT
A 49-year-old Naperville man is accused of bilking three men out of more than $470,000. One of the victims is a church parishioner.Howard Richmond faces three felony counts of theft by deception after his arrest Wednesday morning in Naperville by Aurora police.

Authorities say Richmond heads Life Ministries, a storefront church located at 4054 Fox Valley Center Drive in Aurora.

Police were alerted to the possible crimes in April of 2009 after a 60-year-old parishioner told them Richmond had swindled about $400,000 from him by asking him to help purchase the shopping center property where the church is located and help fund the building of a new church.

Authorities say over the next few months, Richmond allegedly used the same story to deceive a 43-year-old Aurora man out of $8,000 and a 64-year-old Chicago dentist out of more than $67,000.

Police say they don't know what Richmond did with the money.