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Pastor faces multiple charges

LAKE CITY, FL. – A minister with previous ties to the Roanoke-Chowan area was arrested here July 14 on several charges, including racketeering and fraud.

Samuel Darin Taylor, 61, was formally charged by the Columbia County, Florida Sheriff’s Office with conspiracy to commit grand theft, scheming with intent to defraud; racketeering, mortgage fraud and money laundering, according to a press release.

Columbia County is located in northern Florida, west of Jacksonville.

The information provided through the press release revealed that Columbia County Sheriff’s Detective Walter Douglas began an investigation into the misuse of church funds in June of 2009 when the church board and bookkeeper noticed discrepancies in the church’s accounting.

It is alleged that Taylor, the former pastor of First Assembly of God located in Lake City, Florida, forged documents to receive loans and mortgages from a local bank. The investigation further revealed that Taylor opened several credit card accounts without the approval of the church board. Taylor is also accused of using donated property (land) as collateral to receive the loans.

It is estimated that he defrauded the church of over $250,000.

Taylor was booked into the Columbia County Detention Facility where he was held on $50,000 bond.

In connection to the case, law enforcement officials arrested Anthony Rayburn on July 17. Rayburn is believed to have conspired with Taylor to defraud the church.