Via Darryl Cherry
Popular Savannah minister, Reverend Corey MeGill Brown, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of embezzling money from his church over nearly a 10-year period.
Brown was pastor of the Second African Baptist Church on Houston Street, between the years of 1999 and 2014. The feds are convinced that during more than half of his tenure, his focus was stealing money from the church’s most vulnerable members.
The indictment came down after more than two years of investigation started, when one member asked the church for a statement of all his tithing over the last year. The church could not provide it. That’s when the board realized a second account had been set up at the church’s bank; an account named “Roman’s 12.” Federal investigators say Reverend Brown was diverting the tithings of dozens of sick and shut-in members directly into that account, for his own personal use.
Wednesday’s indictment also includes the specific church members who sent check after check after check; some for as much as $1,500, directly to the church, only to have those funds diverted to the Romans 12 account.
Once the investigation into Rev. Brown’s alleged activities was underway, church members were quick to contact other organizations that either employed or had Rev. Brown on their boards, including Metro Police. Brown was the Chaplain’s Coordinator for the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. In fact, he was involved the in the pinning of Chief Jack Lumpkin in 2014. When those members contacted the mayor – asking to have him removed from the Chaplains, or face the embarrassment of the possible outcome of the investigation – within weeks, he was.
Savannah-Chatham Metro Police released a statement on Wednesday evening:
The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department has been aware of the investigation of Pastor Corey MeGill Brown since December 2014.
Once the SCMPD was made aware, Brown’s affiliation as an SCMPD chaplain ended immediately. At no time did Brown manage or oversee any funds at the SCMPD. Brown was a chaplain for the SCMPD from 2010-2014.
He was also later removed as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care, after a call from the church.
Last week, members of the church’s sister congregation, the First African Baptist Church, contacted WTOC, telling us it was holding a meeting about its church accounts. They were concerned that Rev. Brown, who had since been hired by Pastor Thurmond Tillman as an assistant, may have been doing the same thing there. Rev. Tillman was quick to respond.
“There is absolutely no money that’s missing or unaccounted for from George Lyle Vision, which is our non-profit, or from First African Baptist Church,” Rev. Tillman said.
The church member we spoke with on Wednesday remembers his own mother in the hospital, getting visits from Rev. Brown for prayer and communion. He says his mother would actually cut checks; her tithings; to the church, and hand them over to Brown. She never knew if the money ever made into the church’s account – or Romans 12.
Many members of the Second African Baptist Church consider it a slap in the face that Reverend Tillman at First African Baptist would hire Brown with these accusations floating around.
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