A longtime church school headmaster is accused of embezzling more than $9 million from the school and its affiliated church that he used to build a $1 million home, for international travel and to buy a boat and jet skis, luxury vehicles, Carolina ...and more »
A longtime church school headmaster is accused of embezzling more than $9 million from the school and its affiliated church that he used to build a $1 million home, for international travel and to buy a boat and jet skis, luxury vehicles, Carolina Panthers preferred seats, gold and silver coin and gifts for family and friends.Wayne C. Parker Jr., 59, who resigned his position as headmaster of Southlake Christian Academy in Huntersville in September 2014, was charged Friday in federal court with wire fraud, according to a release from U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Jill Westmoreland Rose.â€œFor more than a decade, church members, parents, teachers, students and generous donors put their trust in Parker to lead their school and fulfill its goals and mission.â€ Rose said. â€œInstead, Parker misused his access to the school and churchâ€™s finances, treating their bank accounts as an endless cookie jar, dipping in repeatedly to fund his lavish lifestyle.â€œParker then went to great lengths to conceal his fraud and to prevent law enforcement and others from uncovering the truth. If Parkerâ€™s moral compass was not enough to stop him from breaking the law and ripping off those who put their faith in him, a good dose of American justice will.â€FBIâ€™s Special Agent in Charge John Strong said Parker forced pay cuts for teachers to finance the building on his $1 million lake home and the purchase of multiple other properties.Parker joined the church in 1991 and became volunteer treasurer. Parker was hired as headmaster of Southlake Christian Academy in 1996. As headmaster, Parker was responsible for the administration of the school and its finances and had control over its bank accounts.Court documents allege that beginning in at least 2000, Parker began stealing money from the church and school and used it to pay for personal expenses. Parker opened approximately 29 checking accounts, obtained 26 credit cards, seven loans and created nine limited liability companies to hide the embezzlement, according to court document.He used some of the stolen funds to pay a co-conspiratorâ€™s personal expenses, including college tuition, medical bills, taxes, cars and credit card bills, court documents allege.Court documents allege that in the summer of 2014, after the church leadership became suspicious of Parker's activities and called for an independent audit, Parker stole and destroyed school financial records in an attempt to destroy evidence.Investigators said Parker sold one of the houses that he had built with embezzled funds to one of his children, for a significantly undervalued price, to hide his crimes and prevent law enforcement from seizing that property.Parker is expected to agree to a plea deal, in which he will be required to pay restitution.The wire fraud charge carries maximum prison term of 20 years and a $250,000 fine.
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