News and Press Releases

Former Pastor Sentenced To Over 9 Years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2012

 

IN PRISON FOR STEALING FROM SAVANNAH CHURCH

SAVANNAH, GA: KENNETH TERRELL, 47, former pastor of New Harvest International Ministries (“New Harvest”) located in Chatham County was sentenced to 115 months in prison yesterday by U.S. District Judge William T. Moore, Jr., in connection with a wire fraud scheme in which he stole money from the church.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated, “This defendant’s acts crossed the boundaries of appropriate behavior and fell short of this nation’s standards for legal conduct. Kenneth Terrell used his position as the pastor and leader of a congregation of followers to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars intended for the very own church he was called to lead. This shameless misuse of the authority and confidence bestowed upon him has landed him in federal prison. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute financial crimes where fraudsters take advantage of the trust of others.”

Evidence was presented during a six-hour sentencing hearing which showed that Terrell embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from New Harvest over a span of at least four years while serving as pastor for the local Savannah congregation, which is part of the national organization, International Pentecostal Holiness Church, Inc. (“International Pentecostal”). In addition to his duties as pastor of New Harvest, Terrell agreed to handle the financial duties associated with the construction of a new New Harvest property. Instead of spending the church’s funds for that construction, Terrell often spent them for his own personal expenses and benefit. No building was ever constructed for the church, and the land upon which it was supposed to be constructed to this day remains uncleared.

In addition to 115 months in prison, TERRELL was ordered to pay $381,449.55 in restitution, and to serve 3 years of supervised release upon his release from prison.

Mr. Tarver recognized the extensive efforts of United States Secret Service Special Agent Will Griffin and Detective Raymond Woodberry of the Savannah-Chatham County Metro Police Department who referred the criminal matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Natalie Lee prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

 

 

 

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