Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Son of accused church embezzler in Morristown, Tennessee charged with money laundering

A Morristown man was charged with laundering more than $450,000 after surrendering to police today, two months after his mother was charged with embezzling roughly $1.5 million from the Baptist church where she worked as a financial secretary, authorities said.Michael Dean Whitt, 42, allegedly was involved in several financial transactions and received multiple deposits to his bank account between July 2007 and April 30, 2010, that totaled $450,299.17, according to the Morristown Police Department.Whitt's mother, Barbara Whitt, who worked at First Baptist Church of Morristown for 47 years, was arrested May 10 for what authorities said could be one of the largest thefts in Hamblen County's history.She allegedly wrote herself nearly 1,650 checks made out to cash - totaling about $1.5 million - since at least January 2008, police said.The 68-year-old widow was previously released on $175,000 bond and was due to face a grand jury hearing on two felony charges - theft of more than $60,000 and criminal simulation - July 2. Prosecutors in the case could not immediately be reached for comment today.Barbara Whitt also faces a civil suit filed by the 2,500-member church, which has asked a judge to freeze any sale of her property.Morristown police said they have uncovered deposits to Michael Dean Whitt's bank account that allegedly came from the embezzled church funds as well.He was released on $175,000 bond today and has waived his arraignment hearing. A preliminary hearing in his case will be scheduled.

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