While I speak nationwide on white collar crime, fraud and ethics – I must say you don’t see this one often. I had to take a second read.
Reverend James Cornell Clark – a former Lubbock pastor – was convicted on 41 counts of various indictments charging him with various offenses related to defrauding the federal government of more than a half million dollars. Likewise, Clark was also found guilty in another trial of importing an alien for immoral purposes. Apparently, James Clark forced a Kenyan exchange student into prostitution.
James Clark was heard on tape; telling the young woman that she would have to provide sexual favors in return for what he had done for her after bringing her to Lubbock from Kenya. Apparently, Clark had paid for the young woman’s living expenses and college tuition at South Plains College and was now expecting something in return.
Sex and theft – Clark is working on breaking commandments in a big way!
Specifically the jury convicted Clark on 23 counts of mail fraud, five counts of making false statements or entries, three counts of possession of false papers to defraud the U.S. and 10 counts of money laundering. The entities that were charged in the superseding indictment, Mt Vernon Faith-In-Action Outreach Project, Mt Vernon United Methodist Community Development, Trinity Christian Outreach Ministries, Mt Vernon United Methodist Church Community Outreach Corporation and Clark Evangelistic Outreach Ministries, Inc., were also all convicted on money laundering charges.
I can’t begin to imagine how the members of Clark’s congregation must feel. Hopefully, they will have the foresight to know that the Bible is right – you do reap what you sow – and in Clark’s case his consequences will be severe.
The government presented evidence at trial that from April 2003 until April 2006, Clark negotiated Summer Food Program contracts and agreements for the Mount Vernon United Methodist church as being the non-profit corporation entity that was the sponsor of the program. The purpose of the Summer Food Program is to provide nutritious meals to needy children when schools are normally closed and the National School Lunch/School Breakfast Programs are not operational. The program is administered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Clark created the five charged corporate and business entities under his control, to receive funds for the Summer Food Program that allowed him to convert federal monies to his own personal use. Clark used these stolen federal monies to purchase his residence, vehicles and rental property; remodel his personal residence; and pay personal tuition.
Every choice has a consequence. Afraid in this case, Clark won’t see freedom for a long time to come.
Your thoughts and comments?
Ethics and Fraud Speaker Chuck Gallagher – signing off…