KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Raytown, Mo., man who worked or volunteered at two area churches pleaded guilty in federal court today to embezzling more than $86,000 from those parishes.
David Townley, 59, of Raytown, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Larsen to one count of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion contained in a June 29, 2017, federal indictment.
Nativity of Mary (Wire Fraud)
Townley admitted that he engaged in a scheme to defraud Nativity of Mary church and school in Independence, Mo., from 2007 through 2013.
Townley was employed by the Nativity of Mary church and school as the business manager from December 2006 through June 2013. Townley handled the payroll and had access to both cash and check collections/donations, and school tuition payments. From 2011 through 2013, Townley skimmed money from cash tuition payments made by parents. Townley recorded accurate tuition deposits in the school’s log but deposited a lesser amount into the church’s bank account.
Townley’s bank records revealed frequent cash deposits separate from his and his wife’s salary payments. Nativity of Mary banked at the Blue Ridge Bank and Trust in Kansas City, Mo. The processing of checks through the Federal Reserve System from Nativity of Mary constituted the wire fraud.
Sacred Heart of Guadalupe (Mail Fraud)
Townley admitted that he stole $47,705 from Sacred Heart of Guadalupe church in Kansas City, Mo., in a fraud scheme that lasted from 2006 through 2013.
Townley was a volunteer at Sacred Heart of Guadalupe from 2002 through 2013. Townley was in charge of paying the church’s bills, making QuickBooks entries, reporting to the financial committee and filing the church’s tax returns. From 2006 through 2013, Townley negotiated more than 20 checks, totaling $47,705, and deposited them into his personal bank account. Some of these checks were unauthorized salary payments and others were made out to third parties, such as the “Society of the Precious Blood” and the Diocese of Kansas City.
Sacred Heart of Guadalupe banked at U.S. Bank in Kansas City, Mo., which mailed statements to the church and constituted the mail fraud.
According to an analysis of his bank records, Townley used the money he embezzled mostly to pay off credit card debt. A conservative estimate of the total loss is $86,297. This includes $34,131 of Sacred Heart of Guadalupe checks payable to third parties but cashed by Townley, $32,194 in additional non-payroll checks from Nativity of Mary that were deposited by Townley, and $19,971 in cash deposits that appear to be from Nativity of Mary tuition payments.
Townley admitted that he failed to file federal income tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2013. During those years, Townley had taxable income that ranged from $54,633 to $115,721. The total tax loss for those years is $59,322.
Townley attempted to conceal his true sources of income at Nativity of Mary and Sacred Heart of Guadalupe. The acts of evasion in those years included making false entries in the accounts of Nativity of Mary and skimming cash from tuition payments made by parents at the Nativity of Mary school.
Under federal statutes, Townley is subject to a sentence of up to 45 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and IRS-Criminal Investigation.