Skip to comments.Former LDS bishop cons elderly man out of life savings, police say
Posted on 10/30/2011 6:15:04 AM PDT by Colofornian
AMERICAN FORK -- An 80-year-old man thought his life savings was being invested by his one-time LDS bishop, Kevin Palmer Thomas. But by the time the elderly man stopped turning over his money he had lost more than $300,000, a police affidavit states.
The affidavit alleges that Thomas, 51, used his leadership position in and knowledge of the LDS Church to earn the man's friendship. The man reportedly had saved more than $400,000 throughout the course of his life, and when he turned it over to Thomas, he believed it was secured with property and promissory notes. Thomas made token payments to the man in order to convince him that he was making a great return on his investment, the affidavit reveals. But then the payments reportedly stopped, and the man learned of his losses.
The affidavit also states that Thomas bilked the man out of an additional $15,000 when he convinced him to invest in a "hard money loan." Thomas reportedly spent the money on himself. In addition, Thomas is accused of forging checks worth more than $40,000.
As a result of the allegations, Thomas was arrested earlier this month on charges of communication fraud and exploitation of a vulnerable adult, both second-degree felonies, as well as forgery, a third-degree felony. The affidavit also describes him as a convicted felon who is currently awaiting sentencing on a different case. Court records reveal that in March Thomas pleaded guilty to theft and burglary of a vehicle. His sentencing had been scheduled for Nov. 9.
The affidavit states that Thomas could face more charges when prosecutors formally file the case and that he is a suspect in at least two other felony crimes.
The affidavit also notes that Thomas had been a successful mortgage broker for many years and that his criminal activity happened after the economic downturn in 2007 and 2008. Thomas's position in the LDS church is mentioned several times in the affidavit as well.
For those tempted to attack the thread-poster, just be sure to give "equal attack time" to Ldstoday.com, which also linked to this article! (And don't forget the newspaper in the largest concentrated Mormon community on the planet! The Provo paper...be sure to convey that they should have kept this quiet!)
If the Mormons can point out the criminals in their midst, then don't play the hands-off game for non-Mormons.
In recent years, it's been heavily concentrated, religious-wise, in a sect that is only 1.7% of the population: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons.
If you only have time to click on one article link below...read this one: JOHN L. SMITH: Thieves in the temple: How 'affinity fraud' hurts LDS church members
Be sure to read the comments of FBI special agent Cameron Saxey (who is Lds)...the article mentions how the Utah jurisdictional Securities Fraud Task Force was working on 100+ cases...meaning that $1.4 billion total doesn't tell it all!
BTW...I went to absolutely no major effort or had to do any "days of pouring over" the internet to strain these to the surface. Just about all of them were delivered right into my e-mail lap...meaning I wonder what more I'd find if I really dug deeper!
* Feds arrest St. George business man, philanthropist for mail fraud
Source: Mormon-church owned KSL.com, June 11, 2011
* Former LDS leader charged in fraud against Ute football coach, others
Source: Salt Lake Tribune, June 8, 2011
* Suspected Mormon Con Artist Pleading Guilty to $78M Scam
Source: Streetsweeper.org, May 31, 2011
* Mormon Madoff?
Source: Financial Fraud Law.com, May 27, 2011
* A Fraud Played Out on Family and Friends
Source: New York Times, May 26, 2011
* St. George investor ordered to jail [ex-Lds bishop]
Source: MidUtahRadio.com, April 15, 2011
* Using trust to steal (Utah affinity fraud)
Source: Ogden (UT) Standard Examiner, Feb. 3, 2011
* Mormons Now Losing Billions to Affinity Fraud
Source: Religion Dispatches.org, Sept. 13, 2010
* JOHN L. SMITH: Thieves in the temple: How 'affinity fraud' hurts LDS church members
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sept. 12, 2010
* Local political gadfly arrested for exploiting elderly woman
Source: Provo Daily Herald, May 4, 2010
* Preying on the faithful: Though Mormons often victims, LDS church skips fraud-prevention event
Source: Salt Lake Tribune, May 2, 2010
* Kaneohe swindler is sentenced
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin, April 6, 2010
* Investors with troubled firm have Mormon ties
Source: Austin American Statesman, Jan. 16, 2010
* Man Who Defrauded Fellow Church Goer Pleads Guilty
Source: www.connect2utah.com (KUTV) Jan. 7, 2010
* Lindon Man Accused of Trying to Kill Witnesses to Alleged Scam
Source: MidUtahRadio.com, Nov. 19, 2009
* KSL 5 News investigates affinity fraud
Source: KSL.com Nov. 9, 2009
* Mormon victims are caught up in $50M scam to sell gold bullion
Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 18, 2009
* LDS Church returned $200K in Southwick Tithing
Source: AP, Sept. 14, 2009
* Merriman's church donations may be tained [Momon Ponzi schemer's tithe monies ill-gotten?]
Source: Denver Post, April 24, 2009
* Man Who Defrauded Fellow Church Goer Pleads Guilty
Source: Fox News, April 8, 2009
* Calif. Man Charged with $40 million Ponzi scheme
Source: AP, March 20, 2009
It goes across the entire board. I grew up in Alabama, and the local church as I attended as a kid...got into serious budget issues (they had borrowed lots of money and owed the bank way more than they could ever pay back). So they started visiting elderly folks in the area and openly discussing having them “will” the church tens of thousands of dollars when they pass on. As the children of parents began to realize the implications....they got into some serious mud-slinging and it really tore up the membership of local churches.
All in all....whatever dimwitted nature our local politicians and Mayors showed in making poor financial decisions.....I think religious groups have done the same thing.
Whatever problems I have with Mormon doctrine, bilking other people is very low on it. At worst, Mormons are no worse than anybody else out there. More than likely, this is an isolated incident that can be remedied by setting up more accountability between the Districts, or the Regions, or Stakes, or whatever the Mormons call it.
He needed money to pay for all those wives on that planet he’s going to get.
Well, let’s see, Harry Reid is a Mormon and he’s conned voters and Democrats for years ... no news here.
The question is ... is it endemic of the religion or of human nature? Or when combined does it bring out the worst in people who follow the religion?
And let’s not quibble about ‘religion’ vs ‘cult’ vs ....
Very good Qs.
We are ALL cons. We've tried to "con" God @ various times in our lives. And what we've done vertically obviously bleeds over horizontally.
So the "root" is indeed human nature.
The thing is...Mormons would actually be hard pressed theologically to "agree" with that premise. Why? Because they don't believe in original sin:
* "It is a false doctyrine which prevails in the world that children have to be cleansed from original sin." (Lds "prophet" Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:16)
* "We proclaim...that man should look up and not down for his source, for he is of divine lineage; that man is innocent at birth, which is the antithesis of the ball and chain doctrine of original sin and innate wickedness." (Hugh B. Brown, First Presidency, Conference Reports, April 1956, p. 105)
* "Indeed, in the true gospel of Jesus Christ there is no original sin." (Lds "apostle" John Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 195)
Mormons seem to limit bad influences to those of Satan, demons, and other people...
So if we go with that Mormon worldview, then we all can at least agree that just as gang members negatively influence other gang members; just as family members have destructive impact on other family members; etc. that some things are more "endemic" -- concentrated, that is -- in some environments more than others.
I maintain that since Lds are only 2% of the population, the 21st century cases of fraud are disproportionately greater.
And what do you expect? Lds was jumpstarted by a fraudulent person, Joseph Smith. This is indeed his "legacy."
It’s probably endemic of human nature but the temptation is always there for those in a position of power. Get everything in writing when it comes to money is the safest route.
Agree with you 100%
I am not a Mormon, and fall on the side of the argument that they are not Christian, but instead another of the Worlds religions. But Mormons make great neighbors, honest employees, trusting friends, have family values that put many of our Christian families to shame, and God knows we like the percentage that they vote Republican.
Freeper Colofornian however seems to be on a one-person war against the LDS church and post every anti-Mormon story that can be found. Whatever floats colofornians boat. But maybe if he or she was working as hard as the Mormons do and witness to strangers about the Good News of Christ then maybe he can prevent more than one person from joining the LDS Church. Most of our Christian Churches has become lazy in that department.
So were these men also former boyscouts, military members, Kiwanas members?
Its dangerous to associate behavior with affiliation unless its being done in a large scale study.
Colleges have also urged their elderly alumni to remember them in their wills. People everywhere need money even as we are awash in debt.
Again, I call Reid a MINO (Mormon In Name Only). About this case, though, I doubt the man in question is an active member but I always say this: “The Church is perfect but the people are not.” That goes for Christian churches all over the globe. Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ our Savior & Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost know ALL. We are doing our best but are ALL imperfect.
I remember Pastor Rogers when I used to be a member of the Pentecostal Church of God - he said, “If you ever find the perfect church, please don’t join it because you will wreck it.”