Thursday, 11 December 2008


SMYRNA - A Decatur pastor arrested on forgery charges in Smyrna on Friday pleaded guilty in DeKalb County last month to unrelated theft charges under the first offender statute.
Maurice Joseph Easley, 37, was given five years probation, ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution and complete 150 hours of community service for theft by taking when he was a property manager employed by NuRock Cos., according to court documents. The case was settled on Nov. 6.
Now the pastor of Sanctuary Church of the Living God in Scottdale, Easley is accused of funneling nearly $70,000 from a Smyrna apartment complex where he worked to his church’s checking account.
Police say he took money from residents’ rent payments, security deposits and other fees from September 2007 to March 2008 while he was employed as a property manager at Mission Galleria Apartments.
The missing money was discovered when the apartment complex conducted an audit early this year, Smyrna police spokesman Lt. Tony Leonard said. In addition to eight counts of forgery, Easley faces two theft by taking counts, which are also felonies.
The earlier incident in DeKalb County was similar as Easley stole money during his employment from June to August 2007. Many of the residents at the DeKalb apartment complex were senior citizens.
“I find it horrendous and incongruous that a man that calls himself a Christian would steal from elderly and poor people to try and build his church,” said Rob Hoskins, a spokesman for NuRock Cos.
Hoskins said many of the residents were about to be evicted for nonpayment before discovering that Easley was stealing the rent payments. Easley left the company before being fired, but Hoskins said the company took legal action once they tracked him down.
Easley posted a $75,000 bond on Friday. He did not return a reporter’s phone call on Tuesday.