Local pastor faces additional theft charge, accused of stealing money from elderly couple

Crime & Public Safety

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Another theft charge was filed against an East Texas pastor.

Jail records show that another theft charge was added to Jerome Milton’s charges, this one for theft of property worth between $30,000 and $150,000 from an elderly individual.

His previous charges are theft of property between $2,500 and $30,000 and two counts of credit or debit card abuse of the elderly.

This charge was filed two weeks after the first charges in early October.

The affidavit states that Milton, since May 2021, was caring for and had power of attorney for an elderly couple at Open Door Bible Church in Tyler where he is a pastor. The elderly wife has “memory impairment” and her husband fell in February, leaving him completely bedridden.

According to police records, Milton asked two other church members to help take care of the couple. One of the church members “became suspicious of Milton’s motives and activity” in regards to the couple’s finances and notified the elderly couple’s son.

The son reported the suspicion to the Tyler Police Department, which sparked the investigation.

While looking through bank records, a detective noticed “suspicious transactions” in the forms of checks written to Milton and Open Door Bible Church and bank card transactions.

According to the affidavit, they found a joint account in the name of Milton and the couple he had power of attorney for. All checks deposited were written to the elderly couple, and Milton was the only one who had a card to that account, records show.

The affidavit said that Milton accessed funds from the couple’s money ranging from pension plan checks to economic impact payments and used them to pay for his car payment and hotel rooms in Brownwood.

On April 2, there was a charge of $51 to the city of Tyler court from the joint account, which was a payment made for a possession of drug paraphernalia charge for Milton’s son.

In another instance outlined in the affidavit, it described how the elderly couple gave Milton around $6,000 in cash to pay for the trim, fence, storage building etc. that was done at their residence at that time. They said Milton was supposed to pay the person doing the work.

When the detective spoke with the individual who was doing the work, he advised that he had been taking payments while the work was being conducted and that when they stopped paying him for the work, he stopped working. He said he had not received any large amount of cash recently for any back payment owed on the residence since then.

The affidavit describes several different instances where money was transferred from the elderly couple to Milton or his family, including a $500 charge labeled a “church tithe” written to Milton from the elderly woman’s bank account. It was deposited into Milton’s bank account. The elderly couple informed officials that they never tithed amounts as high as $500.

Milton has been out of jail since Oct. 22, according to records.

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