published Friday, September 16th, 2011

GBI charges LaFayette pastor with theft

A LaFayette, Ga., pastor turned himself in Wednesday after he was accused of helping his wife steal money from a woman who was in his wife's legal care.

Roger Morgan, pastor of North LaFayette Baptist Church, was charged with theft by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Morgan's wife, Christi -- the former legal guardian of 64-year-old Jackie Humphrey -- was arrested in August and charged in connection with the theft of more than $165,000 from Humphrey to pay for a house in cash, records show.

Roger Morgan was arrested Wednesday, and the arrest warrant states he knew or should have known his wife had used stolen money in November to buy their Chickamauga house.

GBI agent James Harris, who is investigating the case, said the stolen money was not used at the church but for the couple's personal use.

The Morgans could not be reached Thursday for comment.

But Humphrey's family members are outraged, claiming Humphrey was worth nearly $1 million when Christi Morgan became her caretaker and now they can't account for most of her funds.

Mike Humphrey, who is Jackie Humphrey's cousin and now her legal guardian, said his cousin's house was sold without her knowledge and now most of her money can't be found.

But more importantly, Mike Humphrey said, his cousin lost many valuables inside the home, including her mother's and grandmother's wedding rings and silver coins his mother had collected since childhood.

"Not only did they take her money away from her, they took her life away from her," Mike Humphrey said.

The family has filed a lawsuit against Christi Morgan in Walker County Circuit Court.

About three years ago, when Jackie Humphrey became ill, Christi Morgan was given power of attorney rights and began to care for her, family members said. Jackie Humphrey, a retired schoolteacher, had health problems and was in an assisted living facility.

The family trusted the Morgans because they were distant relatives and church leaders, Mike Humphrey said.

He said he started to notice something was suspicious earlier this year when Jackie Humphrey's home was sold without her knowledge. Then assisted living center employees told him his cousin was three months behind on her rent, also a red flag, he said.

After looking further into the matter, the state's Adult Protective Services also began to investigate, he said.

"It was just mind-boggling to me," Mike Humphrey said.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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harrystatel said...

Make sure the Morgans are out of jail for Sunday Service. Their sermon is, "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, but not if we get there first."

September 16, 2011 at 7:45 a.m.
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