Former diocesan employee charged with tax, wire fraud

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A former employee for the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida has been charged with wire fraud and tax fraud, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced June 4. Federal prosecutors say he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from a scheme involving diocesan property sales.

Charles Jon David, 57, was paid more than $200,000 in kickbacks for selling diocesan property below market value from 2012-2018, according to the indictment. He has been charged with three counts of wire fraud and four counts of tax fraud.

David was in charge of selling various pieces of diocesan property during his more than six years as Director of Construction of Business Operations for the diocese. The indictment says he gave two individuals exclusive opportunities to buy pieces of property for less than market value, in exchange for a series of at least five kickbacks from the individuals.

In addition, the indictment says, David fraudulently presented a third individual to the diocese as a bona fide purchaser of a diocesan property, while arranging for a separate person to purchase the property from that individual at a higher price on the same day. David allegedly received a $44,000 payment upon the close of the sale.

Prosecutors say David did not report the kickbacks or the $44,000 payment on his federal income tax returns in 2015, 2016, and 2018, and that he underreported income in 2013.

If he is convicted, David could face up to 72 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. He would also have to forfeit at least $273,500 and two pieces of property, which he allegedly purchased with the proceeds of the scheme.

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