Commonwealth Journal

Local News

February 8, 2014

Details about alleged embezzlement emerge

Somerset — Court documents filed last week in Nelson County detail the alleged embezzlement of a Bardstown church by its pastor, a Somerset native.

Court documents filed Jan. 29 reveal how police believe Dylan Jonathan Mays, 42, of Bardstown, used credit cards belonging to Bardstown Baptist Church to purchase more than $83,000 worth of items and allegedly tried to cover his tracks by categorizing the items as church expenses.

According to The Kentucky Standard of Bardstown, a letter to Mays from Ben Hayden, chairman of the deacons at Bardstown Baptist, is also included in the court filings. Hayden’s letter indicates the church forgives Mays, but it also details the turmoil that stems from the former pastor’s actions.

“It’s been hard for us to accept you were involved in this situation, but the documentary evidence is overwhelming and has left all of us convinced of your wrongdoing,” Hayden wrote to Mays in the letter dated Oct. 8. “Many believe that you acted intentionally in taking church money, but there are also many who believe that you did not have criminal intent, but instead a serious, emotional/psychological problem concerning money management and credit cards.”

The Kentucky Standard reports that, according to an investigation report compiled by Bardstown Police Detective Lynn Davis, the total amount of unauthorized purchases made by Mays was worth around $83,000. Police have been able to recover around $15,000.

Court documents include a long list of specific items. The items range from high-dollar items such as $405 for a .380 Smith and Wesson pistol, $59.97 for gun supplies and $186.60 on GTM sportswear to relatively minor purchases like $2.11 for an Amazon video on demand.

Mays alledgedly made the purchases over the past four years.

“I asked Dylan Mays if it was fair to say he had been committing fraud by purchasing guns and writing down other things,” Davis wrote in his investigation report. “He replied it was fair to say.”

Police executed a search warrant at Mays’ home on 208 Rosewood Drive on Oct. 22. Mays and his wife, Trona, were present during the search, the Kentucky Standard reported.

Court documents include several pages of evidence filed that police say they recovered from Mays’ property.

In his letter, Hayden writes that Mays’s actions, whether it was done with criminal intent or not, has caused serious harm to the church.

“The pain which this situation caused is starting to subside and healing has begun,” Hayden wrote. “However, the betrayal was great and it will take a long time for everyone to get over it, especially the youth, new Christians and those new to Bardstown Baptist Church.

“Others wonder whether any of the messages you delivered from the pulpit were sincere or were just false, phony sermons delivered to help cover up what you were doing with (the church’s) money; this is especially true regarding your sermons on tithing and ‘stealing from God,’” Hayden said.

Mays has since resigned as pastor. Mays had been the pastor at the church for eight years.

Mays was indicted by a Nelson County Grand Jury in November on charges of first-degree unlawful access to a computer and theft by deception, $10,000 or more.

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