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CONNECTICUT: New Haven traffic violation leads to preacher's arrest for income tax fraud

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An early morning traffic stop in New Haven helped agents from the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) arrest a 35-year-old local pastor wanted for allegedly attempting to steal more than $150,000 by filing fraudulent income tax returns.

On Monday, DRS special agents arrested Willie E. McKay, 35, of New Haven. Agents had been looking for the pastor of the Love Temple Church of Christ in Prayer, Inc. of New Haven for the past several months and believe he had been living out of state until recently. McKay was arrested on 21 counts of filing false state income tax returns, one count each of larceny first degree and computer crimes first degree, and seven counts of failure to file state withholding tax returns for his church.

DRS Commissioner Richard D. Nicholson said agents have been investigating McKay after the agency’s computer programs detected a number of fraudulent returns allegedly filed on behalf of members of McKay’s congregation. Commissioner Nicholson said, “Our fraud detection programs allowed us to quickly identify this alleged scheme.”

DRS alleges that McKay and possible associates filed false income tax returns in the names of parishioners of the Love Temple Church of Christ in Prayer. McKay then allegedly kept the refunds.

McKay was processed in Hartford, and presented in Hartford Superior Court on a $125,000 bond. Conviction on a false return count can bring imprisonment of up to five years, and conviction on the larceny charge can bring imprisonment of up to 20 years.

No future court date for McKay has been set.

McKay is the most recent arrest resulting from the agency’s fraud detection capability.