Former finance director accused of stealing from Jonesboro church

Kelly Dwayne Payton (Source: Jonesboro Police Department)
Kelly Dwayne Payton (Source: Jonesboro Police Department)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-  A former finance director for a Jonesboro church is accused of stealing from that church.

According to Detective Jason Simpkins with the Jonesboro Police Department, Kelly Dwayne Payton of Paragould stole thousands of dollars from the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church while working from December 2002 to April 2011

An audit was done after Payton was fired from the church in April for other employee issues.

Detective Simpkins says the audit revealed that Payton used the church's credit card for personal purchases.  Those purchases included vacation expenses and a down payment on a new Cadillac.

Several purchases were also found to have been made from the church's online accounts with items purchased being sent to Payton's residence.

When detectives advised Payton of the investigation, police say, Payton admitted to using the church's PayPal account.  He then invoked his right to counsel, according to police.

Wednesday, bond for Payton was set at $50,000.  Payton is charged with Theft of Property greater than $2,500.00, as well as Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card.  Arraignment in this case is scheduled for August 30th.

"It is unfortunate that charges had to be filed in this matter, but the parish needs to know what happened to certain funds that are missing or that were used improperly," says  Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Dennis Lee. "People will want to know how much money is involved and what the unauthorized purchases were.  At the appropriate time more specifics can be made public, but while there is an ongoing police investigation, the parish and Diocese must withhold further comment."

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