Mercer man pays for sex calls with church funds

| March 11, 2010

HARRODSBURG A Salvisa man is in custody after he allegedly used a local church’s checking account to call phone sex numbers.

Michael Graham, 23, of 144 Oregon Landing is charged with one count of theft more than $500 and 10 counts of misuse of an automated banking device. Mercer District Judge Jeff Dotson sent Graham’s case to the grand jury after a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

Graham remains in the Boyle County Detention Center under a $10,000 bond.

According to Mercer Deputy Sheriff Eric Barkman, Graham has admitted to using funds from the Abundant Life Church to pay for $784 worth of calls to 1-900 sex talk phone numbers in January and February.

Graham was able to get checking account information from the church, which he regularly attended, after the church offered to help him pay his water bill, Barkman said.

“The church thought he was down on his luck, which he may or may not have been, and offered to pay a water bill for him,” the deputy explained. “He said he would pick up a check and pay the bill himself.”

Graham used the account number and routing number on the check to pay for the sex chats, Barkman said.

Church officials noticed the inappropriate drafts from the account and contacted police, Barkman said.

Possible connection

Graham also is being looked at in another case in which a victim’s checking account was used to pay for calls to sex talk lines.

Deputy Tim Gambrel said a Mercer County couple reported that their checking account information was used to make more than $2,000 in calls to 1-900 numbers dating back to June until they discovered the inappropriate drafts on their account last month.

Phone company records indicate the calls were made from a land line that Graham has access to, Gambrel said.

The couple, however, have not yet gotten back in touch with Gambrel with bank statements and other information needed to pursue the case further, he said.

“If they get back to me with the paperwork, I’m ready to open an investigation,” Gambrel said. “I think I’ve got everything I need to solve the case. I’m just waiting on them to show they want to prosecute.”

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Category: Church Security

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