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Chicago preacher on "church arrest" after fraud allegations

Police have put a Cicero pastor on house arrest inside of the church that he founded 16 years ago. The clergy member and his wife are accused of white-collar crimes, particularly a fraud scheme that involved applying for federal grants for low-income families and then diverting the funds away from the church.

The pastor has been living at the church since he was indicted for the crimes late last year but is now asking to be allowed to leave the state of Illinois so that he can join his family who are living down south. 

Before the indictment, he had been traveling back and forth between the church and his family's home Georgia. It is very common for people to be ordered to stay within the borders of one state while the await trial, even if they are not placed on house arrest or confined in a local detention center. Courts do this in part to keep defendants nearby and available for hearings. 

His wife, who is also accused in the fraud scheme, has been permitted to leave the state of Illinois while the charges against them are pending. 

White collar crime allegations are just as serious as allegtions for violent crimes in some cases. When prosecutors believe that the defendant has stolen a large amount of money they could be subject to penalties that include repayment, fines, and time behind bars. Some judges may also order community service or other alternative sentences depending on the specifics of the case. 

Source: Chicago Sun Times, "Cicero pastor on house arrest- at his own church," Becky Schilkerman and Jon Seidel, May 14, 2013. 

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