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Accused pastor gets another trial date

Howard Richmond

Howard Richmond

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Updated: April 18, 2013 1:17PM



WHEATON — Thirteen months after his first scheduled trial date came and went, former Aurora pastor Howard Richmond now faces an expected September trial on three-year-old theft and financial crimes charges.

Richmond, of Naperville, was first arrested in 2010 on accusations he bilked members of Life Reach Ministries — his storefront church on an Westfield Fox Valley Mall outlot — out of $459,000. According to prosecutors, Richmond solicited funds to build a new church while showing off supposed bank account information that indicated he had hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in his accounts.

During a brief hearing Wednesday, DuPage County Judge Blanche Hill Fawell set a Sept. 24 trial date, the third time a trial has been scheduled, while granting Richmond’s attorney three months to continue his analysis of the evidence prosecutors have against his client.

Attorney Michael McMahon “promised” this would be the final continuance he’d ask for, noting he needed the time to sort through several boxes of information. Fawell challenged a McMahon comment about being “relatively new” on the case by pointing out how old the charges are and the fact the case had previously been scheduled for trial before McMahon began to represent Richmond.

Prosecutors said they would try the original 2010 charges at trial, leaving two subsequent cases from 2012 — a witness harassment charge and additional financial crimes accusations — to be held over for status hearings in the coming months. Richmond has denied all charges — which include theft, financial institution fraud and forgery — against him and remains free on various bond amounts tied to the three cases.

He is due back in court in July.



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