From Local 3 News: David Michael Apps has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in an embezzlement case of over $1.5 million from Broad Street United Methodist Church.
Apps, 50, of Chattanooga, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Charles Atchley on July 27 at 2 p.m.
According to court documents, from 2014 through 2021, Apps, the business manager of Broad Street United Methodist Church, devised a scheme in which he used an official church credit card to pay for personal expenses in excess of $1.5 million.
Some of these expenses included payment for personal travel, automobiles, medical bills for family members, boat/watercraft and marina fees, and firearms, none of which was related to church business.
Apps also wrote checks to himself under the guise of church member donations to support supposed medical bills relating to his false claim that he had brain cancer. The specific count of conviction involves the use of the church credit card to buy a luxury watch from an expensive retailer in California for $3,711, it was stated.
Apps faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment on the wire fraud count, along with significant fines, restitution, and forfeiture of property.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI as part of the Smoky Mountains Financial Crimes Task Force.