Former LDS bishop cons elderly man out of life savings, police say

2011-10-19T00:25:00Z 2012-11-20T07:21:50Z Former LDS bishop cons elderly man out of life savings, police sayJim Dalrymple - Daily Herald Daily Herald
October 19, 2011 12:25 am  • 

AMERICAN FORK -- An 80-year-old man thought his life savings was being invested by his one-time LDS bishop, Kevin Palmer Thomas. But by the time the elderly man stopped turning over his money he had lost more than $300,000, a police affidavit states.

The affidavit alleges that Thomas, 51, used his leadership position in and knowledge of the LDS Church to earn the man's friendship. The man reportedly had saved more than $400,000 throughout the course of his life, and when he turned it over to Thomas, he believed it was secured with property and promissory notes. Thomas made token payments to the man in order to convince him that he was making a great return on his investment, the affidavit reveals. But then the payments reportedly stopped, and the man learned of his losses.

The affidavit also states that Thomas bilked the man out of an additional $15,000 when he convinced him to invest in a "hard money loan." Thomas reportedly spent the money on himself. In addition, Thomas is accused of forging checks worth more than $40,000.

As a result of the allegations, Thomas was arrested earlier this month on charges of communication fraud and exploitation of a vulnerable adult, both second-degree felonies, as well as forgery, a third-degree felony. The affidavit also describes him as a convicted felon who is currently awaiting sentencing on a different case. Court records reveal that in March Thomas pleaded guilty to theft and burglary of a vehicle. His sentencing had been scheduled for Nov. 9.

The affidavit states that Thomas could face more charges when prosecutors formally file the case and that he is a suspect in at least two other felony crimes.

The affidavit also notes that Thomas had been a successful mortgage broker for many years and that his criminal activity happened after the economic downturn in 2007 and 2008. Thomas's position in the LDS church is mentioned several times in the affidavit as well.

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