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Former Aurora pastor denies new charges

Howard Richmond

Howard Richmond

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Updated: March 1, 2013 6:38AM

Howard Richmond, who once led a storefront church on Aurora’s far East Side, pleaded not guilty this week to new charges accusing him of stealing money from his followers.

Police first arrested Richmond in 2010 on allegations he used fake bank statements and letters indicating large account balances to convince members of Life Reach Ministries to loan him nearly $500,000 for the construction of a new church.

In December, a grand jury indicted Richmond, of Naperville, on 10 additional counts of theft, forgery and financial conspiracy tied to approximately $55,000 he received between 2007 and 2010 from four people, records show.

Beyond the original charges from 2010, Richmond is also accused of deceptive practice and conspiracy to commit financial crimes after a man gave him $114,000 that was intended to pay overdue rent on the church’s strip mall location at the Westfield Fox Valley mall in Aurora.

Richmond has been charged with witness harassment, as well.

Richmond, who returns to court in April, remains free on bond.

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