CONCORD – An executive pastor pleaded guilty in federal court to using Journey Baptist Church’s debit and credit cards without authorization, U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young announces.
Gregory Neal of Rochester, age 45, pleaded guilty to a one-count information alleging wire fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Samantha Elliott scheduled sentencing for July 19, 2023.
The defendant’s employment entailed overseeing the church’s daily operations, including control over its finances. From January 2017 to March 2020, the defendant made unauthorized withdrawals of the church’s funds to pay off his own gambling debts and made unauthorized purchases with the church’s credit cards for his own personal benefit. These unauthorized transactions amounted to roughly $130,000.
The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three 3 years of supervised release, a maximum fine that is the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, and restitution. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
The U.S. Secret Service led the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Gingrande is prosecuting the case.