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TMCNet:  Records detail alleged embezzlement at Edmond church

[December 18, 2012]

Records detail alleged embezzlement at Edmond church

EDMOND, Dec 18, 2012 (The Edmond Sun - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- An ex-St. John's employee allegedly used church credit cards to feloniously buy items including a gun holster, military pants, two movies and a cell phone for a relative, prosecutors say.

District Attorney David Prater filed eight felony counts on Monday in Oklahoma County District Court. The counts were for unauthorized use of a computer network to obtain money and other items by fraudulent representation against Bill Dwight Coyle, 62, of Edmond.

Each count is related to a different item allegedly obtained using church credit cards from September 2008 to November 2011, according to a probable cause affidavit. An incident report filed in July by Edmond Police Officer Jonathan Cramer stated the total amount missing from the church was $109,454.

When reached by phone Monday evening, Coyle confirmed he has hired a local attorney. Contact information for the attorney was not available. When asked if he wanted to tell his side of the story, Coyle said, "I have no comment." He had not yet entered a plea in court. He is to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

No future court dates have been posted on the Oklahoma State Courts Network online database.

A message left with St. John's Pastor John Ackerman was not returned by the time this report was filed.

In 1997, the defendant was hired as St. John's business manager and he was ordained a deacon in 1992, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Edmond Police Detective Matthew Terry in Oklahoma County District Court.

During a parish assessment in early 2012, a witness came forward with concerns that the defendant was using church funds for his own personal gain, the affidavit stated.

In August, Terry spoke to a staff member/witness who knew about the defendant's work routine and said he was very negative about former St. John's Pastor John Metzinger's leadership and did not agree with his business and ministry decisions, Terry stated. The defendant reported to Metzinger, the affidavit stated.

The witness was aware of the defendant's use of credit cards and a church cell phone for his own use, Terry stated. She would speak with him about it and he would say he would work something out with the church; he would occasionally give her money that was deposited in the church's bank account, the affidavit stated.

On Feb. 24, 2012, Metzinger, an attorney for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, a witness and the defendant met, Terry stated. Two people said during the meeting the defendant admitted to using more than $58,000 of church funds for personal gain, the affidavit stated.

There was no talk of resolution during the meeting and the defendant's "Canonical Faculties" were suspended, Terry stated.

An audit found significant deficiencies in the church's internal control procedures, which caused subsequent gathering of sufficient evidence to verify the purpose of certain expenditures to be difficult, the affidavit stated.

The audit stated the defendant appeared to benefit from church funds for a total of $78,795, and that consideration should be given to another $32,313 for purchases with the two credit cards, Terry stated.

A flash drive obtained by Terry contained information related to the defendant's alleged Amazon purchases, two church credit cards and the cell phone service provider, Terry stated. Police obtained a computer screen print directly from the defendant's Amazon account; the account name was "Bill D. Coyle" and the email account he allegedly used was "bbcoyle@cox.net," the affidavit stated.

The history showed the email address was used to order the items and a church credit card was used to pay for them, Terry stated. Most of the items delivered to the church were not religious items, the affidavit stated.

As of Dec. 12, Terry stated that he had not heard from neither the defendant nor his attorney in reference to the allegations.

marks@edmondsun.com -- 341-2121, ext. 108 ___ (c)2012 The Edmond Sun (Edmond, Okla.) Visit The Edmond Sun (Edmond, Okla.) at www.edmondsun.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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