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Harrisburg pastor says he's guilty of wire fraud

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A local church leader could face up to 20 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he defrauded a bank and pocketed about $67,000.

Rev. Kelly McKnight makes opening remarks at the Harrisburg United Rally Thursday evening December 30, 2010 in Harrisburg.  Michael Holahan/File
Michael Holahan/File
Rev. Kelly McKnight makes opening remarks at the Harrisburg United Rally Thursday evening December 30, 2010 in Harrisburg.

Dr. H. Kelly McKnight Jr., the senior pastor of Bible Deliverance Temple on Fenwick Street in Harrisburg neighborhood, broke into tears as he told a U.S. District Court judge about the scheme, for which he was charged with one count of wire fraud.

The hearing came just over an hour from when officials officially charged McKnight. The pastor chose to waive his right to be indicted by a grand jury and told the judge he wanted to plead guilty.

As his wife, Chastity, sat crying in the courtroom, McKnight, 59, said he planned to use the money to fund Another Chance Ministries, which he serves as CEO. He lamented the damage he had done to his father's, his wife's and the church's reputations.

"I apologize to this court and this city," he said. "I've already apologized to my church."

According to court documents and property records, McKnight's father, H.K. McKnight, bought a house at 1303 Hickman Road in January 2007 for $225,000 with a loan from Wachovia.

Earlier that month, the same property had been purchased by the pastor through Another Chance Ministries for $150,000.

"Kelly realized he could get a higher rate on the mortgage by having his father fill out the loan," FBI special agent Jason Gustin testified at McKnight's sentencing.

McKnight admitted to writing fraudulent information on the loan application on his father's behalf. He inflated his father's retirement salary by about $15,000 a year, told the bank his father would live in the house when in fact the pastor was renting out the property, and falsely listed his father as being senior pastor of the church.

"The money went into a bank account that was opened just prior to the closing," Gustin said. That account was under Another Chance Ministries.

The bank foreclosed on the house in July 2009, losing $163,000 on the deal. The property was sold on the courthouse steps for $35,500, despite an estimated value of $260,113, property records show.

It is now owned by a limited liability company called Cape Cod Boys, formed by Paul G. King and Donald A. Boynton.

Speaking to the judge, McKnight said he had been desperate to fund the ministry and made bad decisions. He had his father submit the fraudulent loan application at the suggestion of an old church friend who was now a mortgage officer, he said.

"My error was that I was intelligent enough to investigate it more thoroughly and I did not," he said. "If I were not in such a desperate position, I would have made a better decision."

Last Jan. 29, a Wachovia Bank in Charlotte, N.C., transferred $220,017 for the loan -- which led to the charge of wire fraud.

Judge J. Randall Hall released McKnight on a $10,000 bond pending his sentencing hearing. In addition to 20 years in prison, McKnight faces a $250,000 fine.

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Austin Rhodes
2854
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Austin Rhodes 03/10/11 - 12:30 pm
0
0
Just damn!

Just damn!

Boogaloo
1
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Boogaloo 03/10/11 - 12:47 pm
0
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Oh,Oh. Ol' HK done got caught

Oh,Oh. Ol' HK done got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

sueboo418
37
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sueboo418 03/10/11 - 12:49 pm
0
0
Wow!!! LOL

Wow!!! LOL

Sweet son
10100
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Sweet son 03/10/11 - 12:56 pm
0
0
Charged, pled, should have

Charged, pled, should have sentenced him to Federal jail time on the spot. Parishoners must not have been giving enough to the "Lord". Which church Adam?

jlpowell
2
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jlpowell 03/10/11 - 01:21 pm
0
0
I grew up going to Bible

I grew up going to Bible Deliverance Temple! Kelly's dad was the pastor at the time. This is such a sad situation. I just don't understand what prompts people to do the things they do!!!!

MsCille
0
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MsCille 03/10/11 - 01:27 pm
0
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He's broken God's

He's broken God's commandment, "thou shall not steal", as well as shown his congregation that "money is the root of all evil". It shows what type of society in which we all live. Greed is taking over our nation.

Pastor Dan White
1
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Pastor Dan White 03/10/11 - 01:30 pm
0
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ditto Austin. I've known

ditto Austin. I've known McKnight as an acquaintance for several years, and this is so sad. He's done a valient work for the Harrisburg community as did his dad. Heartbreaking news.

happychimer
16960
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happychimer 03/10/11 - 01:32 pm
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0
Another reason why my church

Another reason why my church is my home. I don't trust churches anymore. I trust God, and I can worship him anywhere.

Blackeyes
0
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Blackeyes 03/10/11 - 01:35 pm
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I am totally shocked at this!

I am totally shocked at this! I truly thought that Kelly was a truly upstanding person in this community... Just got greedy I guess.. So sad for the good people in Harrisburg that relied on him to make their neighborhood a better place to live!

InChristLove
22468
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InChristLove 03/10/11 - 01:59 pm
0
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This is truly sad but we must

This is truly sad but we must remember that pastors are human also and all of us are imperfect. This does not justify his behavior and he must be judge according to man's law as well as God will judge him according to God's law.

It is sad when people use so many excuses for not attending church. The church is a body of believers and not just the pastor. If you have mistrust in a whole congregation then you are not attending the right worship place. We can view worship services on TV but I've found most of them are not preaching the true word of God. Either it's a feel good program or they are out to milk you for every dime you own.

Attending church provides fellowship with other believers which we can't get staying at home. It renews us spiritually and is an expression of our Love for Christ. Actually we are commanded by God not to forsake the assembling our ourselves together, to motivate and encourage one another.

My prayer is that Mr. McKnight will ask for forgiveness not only from God but from his congregation and whatever his earthly punishment will be, learn from it and use it for God's glory.

lifelongresident
1323
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lifelongresident 03/10/11 - 02:07 pm
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ms. cille, a slight
Unpublished

ms. cille, a slight correction, it is "money is the root of all evil", it's THE LOVE of money is the root of all evil"

tiredofsrryppl
0
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tiredofsrryppl 03/10/11 - 02:15 pm
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0
Still, Greed is what is

Still, Greed is what is killing us and OUR planet.

billcass
761
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billcass 03/10/11 - 02:34 pm
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0
happychimer: God says that

happychimer: God says that believers should gather together to worship. If you trust him you should listen to what he says.

JessicaTurner1
0
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JessicaTurner1 03/10/11 - 06:47 pm
0
0
Everyone makes mistakes... As

Everyone makes mistakes... As you can see this was back in 2007...4 years ago!! Not to say its ok but no one can honestly say they haven't done something that they are not proud of. And of course, the news will never tell the WHOLE story.

I love Pastor Kelly, His Family, and Our Church.!

My family and I stand behind him 100%

And my 69 year old grandmother said if it came to it and she was able she would do the time for him....any day of the week!!!!!!

dougk
3
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dougk 03/10/11 - 02:41 pm
0
0
Apparently, fraud and deceit
Unpublished

Apparently, fraud and deceit were going on in his life back then.

InChristLove
22468
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InChristLove 03/10/11 - 02:47 pm
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jessica, I agree that we are

jessica, I agree that we are to forgive Pastor Kelly, but what he did was wrong. We most certainly need to stand beside him and help him but he has to answer for his sin. If he repents, God will help him through this ordeal but I really don't think God is the one who saw him to this. No one "saw him" to this act of sin but the devil himself.

weeflow
0
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weeflow 03/10/11 - 03:16 pm
0
0
I will say this, we all fall

I will say this, we all fall short. If we must do anything we must pray. I will be the first to say to the members of the church keep the faith, never let the act of mankind no matter the role of the man or woman dictate your faith.. Pastor sir I stand in prayer with you and your family.. This is why it takes all of us to right the wrongs in our communities and in our own backyards. We must come together to change what has been taking away from us as families, communities, and believers moral values.

corgimom
31448
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corgimom 03/10/11 - 03:22 pm
0
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Dougk, great post. It's one

Dougk, great post.

It's one thing to do wrong; but it's especially bad to use an innocent family member as part of your bad acts. His FATHER, who loves him and raised him.

Just sad, sad, sad.

By the way, just what would go on in a person's life that they would feel justified in committing fraud against a bank to the tune of $220,000?

Lori Davis
905
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Lori Davis 03/10/11 - 03:43 pm
0
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Kelly has worked faithfully

Kelly has worked faithfully with us for the betterment of the Harrisburg Community. This work will continue. Harrisburg-West End Neighborhood Association meets tonight at St. Luke's Methodist on Crawford Ave., 7:00 p.m. All are invited to attend.

Ashleyn1
44
Points
Ashleyn1 03/10/11 - 03:54 pm
0
0
Pastor's are human...period

Pastor's are human...period and point blank. It's just sad that they do not hold theirselves to a higher standard anymore. They are supposed to. They are the men who are supposed to be there to guide us as christians and are doing some of the worst things I can imagine...fraud, child molestation, killing...what has our world come to really?

Ashleyn1
44
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Ashleyn1 03/10/11 - 03:56 pm
0
0
"If God will see you to it,

"If God will see you to it, He will help you through it!!!!"...Jessica...I totally believe this statement but not in cases such as this. I feel that "God" did not "see him to it"...sorry, just a personal feeling...

commonsense-is-endangere
43
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commonsense-is-endangere 03/10/11 - 03:57 pm
0
0
The lord giveth and the lord

The lord giveth and the lord taketh away.

corgimom
31448
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corgimom 03/10/11 - 04:12 pm
0
0
Lori Davis, I'm sorry, but

Lori Davis, I'm sorry, but committing mortgage fraud doesn't help ANY community become better. Ever.

His father, who is quite elderly, must be really suffering right now. That poor man.

april herring
0
Points
april herring 03/10/11 - 04:16 pm
0
0
BDT is MY home Church and if

BDT is MY home Church and if all you people knew the whole story, you would not judge! Judge lest be judged. My family and I back our Pastor because we know the story! DO NOT believe everything in the news...you will never get the other persons side! My Pastor is a good, God fearing man! You people know what he does for our community and all of a sudden you want to turn backs and point fingers when you need to pray that the truth will set him free!! We love you Pastor! Our God knows the truth, knows Kelly and will get him through it!

happychimer
16960
Points
happychimer 03/10/11 - 04:18 pm
0
0
I do not have to go to a

I do not have to go to a building to worship God. He is with me all the time. It is not an excuse not to go to a church building. I worship God my way, and y'all your way. If you want to go to church, that's good. It is just not for me. I tried it most of my life, and always ran into situations that turned me against organized religion.

happychimer
16960
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happychimer 03/10/11 - 04:22 pm
0
0
billcass how do you know I

billcass how do you know I don't gather with other worshipers? Nowhere in the Bible does it say we have to worship him in a building called a church. You have your way and I have mine.

dougk
3
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dougk 03/10/11 - 04:26 pm
0
0
Hold on, Happy. The real
Unpublished

Hold on, Happy. The real Christians are going to set you straight.

InChristLove
22468
Points
InChristLove 03/10/11 - 04:29 pm
0
0
Happy, unless you are having

Happy, unless you are having bible study in your home or someone elses, the church building is usually the place that believers gather to worship. Not always, but more often than not. No, you don't have to go to a building to worship God, but it is the normal place for believers to assemble and praise him. Guess the point is you are at least worshiping him and that is more than I can say for others. Maybe if all of us put God first instead of self, this world would be a lot better place.

happychimer
16960
Points
happychimer 03/10/11 - 04:35 pm
0
0
OK let me say this. Daddy

OK let me say this. Daddy taught me there are 2 things I should never argue, and that is religion and politics. I state my thoughts on the subjects, and that's it. I don't have to explain anything.

InChristLove
22468
Points
InChristLove 03/10/11 - 04:44 pm
0
0
Happy, what you don't

Happy, what you don't understand is that I'm agreeing with you. Quit being defensive.

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