Ex-official of National City Christian Church convicted of stealing more than $500,000
The former chief financial officer of a historic downtown church was convicted Monday of stealing more than $500,000 from the institution over five years.
Jason Todd Reynolds, 40, of Bowie was found guilty of 12 counts of fraud, identity theft and tax evasion after a two-week trial in the District’s federal court.
Reynolds, who was ordered held in jail after the verdict was read, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 4 before U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler. It took the jury just a few hours to convict Reynolds, who was indicted in April 2010.
Prosecutors said that Reynolds operated his scam while he was chief financial officer of National City Christian Church in Northwest Washington.
He used stolen money to finance the purchase of luxury cars, expensive jewelry, tickets to sporting events and luxury vacations. At trial, prosecutors produced evidence showing that Reynolds siphoned church funds to purchase a Lexus sport-utility vehicle, a Range Rover, a Nissan Maxima, a $12,000 diamond ring, high-end furniture and a projection-screen home theater system.
He even used the funds to help finance his mortgage. In an effort to hide his theft, he took out a $450,000 line of credit to shore up church funds — a debt that came due after Reynolds was fired in 2008, prosecutors said.
During closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Hooks said that Reynolds had “betrayed the trust” of the church.
“Reynolds was a trusted employee who abused his position and our trust to personally benefit himself,” Stephen Gentle, the church’s senior minister, said in a statement. “Naturally, the ministry of the congregation has been genuinely hurt by such a breach of trust, but we have also made great strides in the last three years to strengthen church accounting procedures.”
Reynolds’s attorney, Edward Sussman, declined to comment.