Louisville minister is sentenced in fraud case

A minister from Louisville was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to two years in prison and was ordered to repay more than $800,000 in federal grant money that he took for his personal use that was intended for the rehabilitation of a building in the Parkland neighborhood of Louisville.

The Rev. Henry M. Humphrey, a minister at Shiloh Baptist Church, pleaded guilty last June to 11 criminal charges, including conspiring to defraud the United States, soliciting kickbacks of federal funds, conspiring to launder money, wire fraud and submitting a false writing to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, about $1,825,000 from federal and other sources was designated for buying and renovating the Maupin Building, but Humphrey and his co-conspirators took most of the money for themselves. They conducted the scheme between February 25, 1998 and November 2005.

The building got a new roof and an elevator was installed, which cost about $350,000, but little else has been done to the building.

Humphrey, acting as chief executive officer of Shiloh Baptist Community Renewal Center, used the HUD funding to gamble and to pay his personal credit card, the news release stated.

In November 2005, he and his co-conspirators met and created fake invoices and documents to submit to HUD that gave "the false impression that he was entitled to compensation and to conceal the fact that he had been taking grant funds for personal use since 2001," according to the release.

One co-conspirator, Yvette Crayton Goodwin, who acted as a consultant and grant writer for the renewal center, is awaiting sentencing. She pleaded guilty in September 2009 to charges of conspiring to defraud HUD.

Another alleged co-conspirator, Kevin Lamont Harris of Louisville, who served as bookkeeper, withdrew his guilty plea in federal court on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman sentenced Humphrey to two years in prison and three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $831,743 in restitution to HUD.