- Associated Press - Thursday, August 14, 2014

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A Tulsa minister has been charged with taking nearly $1 million from a nonprofit he created and filing a false tax return, federal officials said.

Willard Lenord Jones, a pastor of Greater Cornerstone Church and the former executive director of nonprofit Greater Cornerstone Community Center, was indicted on three counts of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return.

Investigators said he took $933,507 between September 2007 and June 2013 from the nonprofit and transferred the funds to the church’s accounts.

Officials said he then put the money into his own personal accounts and spent the money on hotel stays, restaurants, casinos, liquor and automobiles. He’s also accused of withdrawing money from church accounts for other personal expenses.

Prosecutors said Jones failed to report nearly $400,000 in income on a 2011 tax form.

Jones’ voicemail was full Thursday. An email seeking comment was sent to his church account.

Jones quit as the nonprofit’s executive director in 2013. He oversaw the group’s design, construction and fundraising for its building, which opened in September 2012.

“This case is about a man who abused his position and misappropriated funds belonging to the community center project,” U.S. Attorney Danny Williams said. “Mr. Jones failed to honor the trust of the community.”

Williams said Jones is not in custody but will be issued a summons to appear in court.

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