Popular minister charged with theft of 70K dollars

caines | 10/11/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Rev. Larrie Lovett accused of taking dollars intended for Brownsville Community Development Corporation

A local minister, well known in the Brownsville community, has been charged with grand theft and organized scheme to defraud by Miami-Dade County prosecutors. The Rev. Larrie Lovett, 48, minister at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Brownsville, was arrested last Friday on charges that he allegedly stole more than $70,000 dollars, funneling the money through a community nonprofit agency that he directed. The Brownsville Community Development Corporation [BCDC] had received money from the Childrens Trust in order to coordinate programs for children in the Brownsville and Liberty City communities as part of a violence-prevention initiative. But according to documents from the Miami-Dade Inspector Generals Office, Lovett had redirected money by submitting fake invoices to the Childrens Trust. Payments were actually never made to vendors and Lovett transferred money from the nonprofit to his personal bank account. Records indicate that Lovett used the money for such things as car payments, rent on his home and numerous trips. In total, Lovett took more than $112,000 but was charged with taking about $70,000 because the statute of limitations had lapsed on some older crimes, according to the arrest report. The thefts occurred between 2007 and 2009. When vendors began to complain that they had not been paid, the Childrens Trust canceled its contract with the BCDC in January 2010 and asked for officials to launch an investigation. The Trust has since added additional safeguards in order to ensure that payments are made to vendors before reimbursing providers for the costs. Miami Times staff report