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Pair accused in church scam suspected of opening eatery

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The new restaurant, Lenore's in Baldwin, L.I., claims to cater to churches, legal assistant Anthony Moragne of the Queens firm Mays and Associates said. It allegedly is being run by Anna Lenore Kilpatrick and her husband Barry Kilpatrick."The church members heard about her opening a restaurant," Moragne said, noting that they were infuriated by the news.A flier advertising the new business was produced in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens last week by prosecutors as proof of the Kilpatrick's alleged deceit, according to news reports. The pair, along with a former pastor of the church, have been charged with embezzling hundreds of thousands from the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Jamaica.Anna Kilpatrick, an ex-administrative assistant at the church, and Barry Kilpatrick are accused of taking $494,000 and have been charged with grand larceny and falsifying business records, the Queens district attorney has said. They face up to 15 years in prison if later convicted. The former pastor, Charles Betts, who moved to Florida, was accused of stealing $165,000 and faces similar charges. He is a co-defendant in the criminal case, which will next be heard March 29.The trio allegedly used the stolen money for vacations, mortgage payments and summer school for their children, the DA has said. An investigation into their alleged misdeeds began in 2003, when the church received a bank card in Anna Kilpatrick's name in the mail. Mays and Associates will pursue a civil lawsuit against Betts and the Kilpatricks when the criminal case is over in an effort to recoup the congregation's losses.The Kilpatricks have repeatedly told the court they could not afford an attorney but finally showed up at last week's hearing with lawyer Gregory LaMarca. LaMarca did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment, but said in news reports the restaurant was a no-cash deal with an acquaintance of the Kilpatricks and was needed to provide for their kids.Moragne did not buy the explanation. "It doesn't make any sense," he said.The legal assistant said Anna Kilpatrick did not show up for court last week, but had a doctor's note, leading the judge to ask for more comprehensive medical documentation in the future."They're just trying to delay the court," Moragne said.Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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