The head of a South St. Petersburg charity and the pastor of a St. Petersburg church are accused of stealing nearly $150,000 in a real estate deal from a Palm Harbor woman who could no longer afford to live in her house, according to documents released Wednesday.
The head of the charity, Eric Leroy Green, 55, who runs Everyone's Youth United, was arrested Tuesday on charges of grand theft and money laundering. He was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday on $200,000 bail.
Green told a detective with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office his accomplice is a pastor in a local St. Petersburg church. That person's name was redacted from the affidavit because he has not yet been arrested, but he faces the same two charges as Green does, court records show.
Green's arrest is just the latest spin in the charity's downward spiral.
The charity, founded in 2000, once oversaw an array of programs for children in the Child's Park neighborhood but saw most of its funding cut in 2008. The organization lost its tax-exempt status in February, meaning donations are no longer tax-deductible, according to IRS records. The organization is still listed as an active nonprofit corporation - an administrative designation - and filed an annual report with the Florida Department of State last month. That report lists Green as the chairman of Everyone's Youth United and a slate of officers with the same address in Oviedo. None could be reached for comment.
The organization's website contains no recent information, and the contact phone number listed for Green has been disconnected. Nevertheless, the site boasts: "Get ready. E.Y.U. is back. ... Coming 2013-2014 with all new programs and events." However, it's unclear what, if any, programs the organization is offering.
Green told Detective David Kavanagh that the short-sale scheme was set in motion after he discussed EYU's financial turmoil with the pastor, his arrest affidavit says.
That plan ensnared Dorothea Giordano, who by 2010 could no longer afford to live at her house at 2492 Glenpark Road in Palm Harbor. A close personal friend of Giordano's, Jack Dvorak, agreed to buy it from her but allow her to continue living there, court documents state.
Giordano had been introduced to the pastor, who presented himself as an expert in real estate short sales. The pastor offered to broker the sale.
As the deal was progressing, the pastor communicated with the title company, Online Title Services, in Safety Harbor, which was run by real estate agent Cheryl Slaughter, the court documents state. He introduced a woman to Slaughter, saying the woman represented Giordano's bank, Allied Home Mortgage.
The woman, identified as Tamkea Womack, sent Slaughter an email indicating Allied had approved the short sale, as long as the amount to settle the mortgage was $143,500, the documents state. The funds were to be disbursed to an entity called EYU Inc. EYU was said to be an investor but was actually an acronym for Everyone's Youth United, the documents state.
After the money changed hands on Sept. 27, 2010, Allied Home Mortgage told Slaughter the woman and the company she was supposedly representing, M Caster Home Finance, were not affiliated with Allied, and the funds had been improperly disbursed, the documents state.
In fact, M Caster Home Finance does not exist. Its mailing address, which is in San Diego, is that of an actual bank, Chase Home Finance.
Slaughter called the sheriff's office.
After the $143,500 was transferred, Green wrote himself checks totalling more than $10,000, a check for an employee for $1,000 and a check of $9,700 for Construction Specialities, which is owned by his mother, Doris Martin, also listed as the treasurer of Everyone's Youth United.
He also arranged for his mother to deposit $60,000, telling her the money was a payment to Everyone's Youth United for a fair he had put on for an organization. Green turned around and put the money in his personal account, according to investigative records.
Green also got a cashier's check for the pastor, amounting to $59,000, the documents state.