Commonwealth Journal

November 28, 2013

Former Somerset resident accused of stealing from church

by Jeff Neal
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — A former Somerset resident is facing criminal charges after he racked up over $80,000 on credit cards belonging to the church he pastored.

Dylan Mays, 42, was indicted by a Nelson County grand jury last week. He faces one count of theft by deception of more than $10,000 and one count of unlawful access to computer.

Police said Mays spent at least $80,000 on guns, electronics and other personal items -- all on credit cards belonging to Bardstown Baptist Church, where Mays was the pastor for the last four years. Prior to that, he was the church’s music minister for nearly four years.

"When a pastor is making statements to you on a Sunday about financial responsibility and things of that nature and he himself is doing that, it really hurts," said Bardstown Baptist Church attorney Jason Floyd in a published report.

Floyd said the allegations against Mays has devastated the congregation.

"He had been a pastor for eight years and had formed close relationships with many people there, and I am sure there were a number of people who did not want to believe this had occurred," said Floyd.

Police claim Mays began illegally using the credit cards in 2009 and didn't stop until he resigned last month.

Police said Mays was essentially living off the church for four years, even using the credit cards to go out to eat.

Police executed a search warrant on the home of Mays on October 22. Police seized 23 firearms, a large amount of ammunition, police radios, electronics and other items.

Police said the investigation revealed that Mays had used credit cards issued to him for church purposes to make more than $80,000 worth of unauthorized purchases between 2009 and 2013. Those purchases included numerous firearms, firearm accessories, ammunition, tools and electronics including iPhones and computers, according to police.

Floyd believes Mays would buy these items with the church's credit cards and write off purchases as something else.

"For example a sporting goods purchase for personal stuff would have been characterized as an expenditure for the church upward basketball program," said Floyd.

Terry Geoghegan has spent 20 years prosecuting cases in Nelson LaRue and Hart counties. He called the case unusual.

"I can't say that we've seen a case that we've returned an indictment against a minister before that I can recall," said Geohegan.

Floyd told Bardstown media outlets the investigation began after other church leaders noticed they were experiencing major money problems.

He said Mays primarily carried the credit cards. Now the church of 250 people is reeling financially and emotionally.

"Sometimes these types of things can cause such division that a church divides and the congregation goes elsewhere. That does not seem to have been the case at this point fortunately," said Floyd.

He will be arraigned on Dec. 5 and could face anywhere from five to 20 years in prison.