Local Church Leaders Charged with Fraud
Las Vegas, Nev. - Three individuals, including a local Baptist minister and his spouse, were indicted by the Federal Grand Jury today on numerous charges, including defrauding a federal grant program of money, making false statements to investigators, and obstruction of justice, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
WILLIE DAVIS, age 68, EMMA M. DAVIS, age 51, and MCTHERON JONES, age 57, all of Las Vegas, are charged with Conspiracy, Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, Theft of Government Property, Making False Statements to a Government Agency, and Obstruction of Justice. EMMA DAVIS is further charged with Bank Fraud, Bankruptcy Fraud, and Misuse of a Social Security Number. WILLIE DAVIS is Pastor of the Second Baptist Church at 500 West Madison Avenue in Las Vegas; EMMA DAVIS is the spouse of WILLIE DAVIS; MCTHERON JONES is also a local minister and was formerly employed by the Community College of Southern Nevada.
The Indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to defraud the United States Government by obtaining U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) grant funds under false pretenses in order to enrich themselves. In June 2002, through a non-profit organization known as Alliance Collegiums Association of Nevada (ACAN), the defendants applied for and obtained a DOJ grant to operate halfway houses for inmates in Southern Nevada. WILLIE DAVIS, as President of ACAN, arranged for his wife, EMMA DAVIS, to become Executive Director of ACAN, and for MCTHERON JONES to became the Assistant Director. WILLIE DAVIS and EMMA DAVIS were experiencing financial difficulties at the time, and had filed for personal bankruptcy in December 2002. In September 2002, ACAN received the DOJ grant for the halfway houses. In December 2002, the defendants began to withdraw and use the funds to obtain financial benefits for themselves and others that were not under the terms of the grant. Specifically,
- EMMA DAVIS and MCTHERON JONES received pay for work not done;
- JONES unlawfully received money for writing the grant application;
- WILLIE DAVIS was unlawfully paid a consulting fee, and;
- EMMA DAVIS and MCTHERON JONES were given pay raises that were not allowed or approved under the grant.
It is further alleged that the defendants used false documents to disguise the nature of their scheme, and that they created and submitted false information to DOJ regarding the administration of the grant. The information included false Board minutes, fictitious time sheets, false memoranda; false articles of incorporation; and a false employment application for EMMA DAVIS. The information also included false assertions that JONES held a Ph.D. or doctoral degree and that he was, "Dr. Jones," when in fact he did not have a Ph.D. or doctoral degree, and that EMMA DAVIS had no prior criminal convictions, when in fact she had been convicted of a federal felony offense. It is also alleged that in the summer of 2003, the defendants made false statements to the federal agents who were investigating the alleged wrongdoings.
EMMA DAVIS is charged with Bank Fraud for allegedly using a false social security number and false tax returns to obtain a $90,000 loan from Community Bank of Nevada in June 2000, and charged with Bankruptcy Fraud for listing a false social security number on her 2002 bankruptcy petition.
On June 13, 2003, DOJ froze ACAN's grant funding following allegations of misconduct. ACAN had withdrawn and eventually expended approximately $330,000. No halfway house was ever opened for inmates under the ACAN grant.
The defendants were summoned, and are scheduled to make an initial appearance in court on Friday, October 7, 2005, at 8:30 a.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen.
The case is being investigated by Special Agents with the Offices of the Inspectors General for the Department of Justice and Social Security Administration, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Russell E. Marsh and Steven W. Myhre.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.