Judge sentences Florence pastor for fraud, identity theft

Judge sentences Florence pastor for fraud, identity theft
Greater Faith World Outreach Ministries

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – A Florence pastor learned his fate Friday in federal court.

A judge sentenced Tony McElveen Sr. to 51 months in prison after he pleaded guilty back in May to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The prison sentence will be followed by two years of supervised release. He was also sentenced to pay full restitution and ordered to forfeit $107,390.

According to an investigation, McElveen used his position as BB&T branch manager in Rowland, N.C. to steal the personal identifiers of two elderly customers and obtain loans and credit cards in their names.

Between July 2017 and September 2017, authorities say McElveen opened two $50,000 preferred lines of credit in the victims’ names.

The loans and credit cards were used for his personal benefit to pay for things such as a home security system and hotel rooms in Myrtle Beach.

McElveen attempted to conceal his criminal activity through the use of his position as pastor for the Greater Faith World Outreach Church in Florence.

"This defendant took advantage of vulnerable, elderly individuals by abusing his position of trust as a Pastor. His crime is simply despicable! And it's happening all too often across our country. We must remain vigilant and help our older citizens remain aware of those targeting them as fraud victims,” said Robert Higdon Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

McElveen deposited some of the money into the church’s operating account and used his signatory authority to withdraw funds for his personal benefit. He also opened a BB&T account in the church’s name through which he laundered money from.

McElveen also made it appear that one of the loan withdrawals for $28,500 was a charitable donation made by one of the elderly victims to the church’s building fund.

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