Stealing From the Baptists –

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Carnes Train Station

Comic Jeff Foxworthy as soon as mentioned you may be a redneck if you happen to’ve ever made change within the providing plate. What would you be if you happen to stole from not simply that plate however from the church’s coffers to the tune of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}?

Across the time Ponzi’s scheme grew to become identified to the general public, an enterprising con man started his model of the con on the world of Baptists and lined his pockets with the church’s cash. After years of residing an opulent life and shifting into the higher crust of Atlanta social circles, his plot was revealed. He was the topic of an enormous manhunt, leaving the church to surprise what had occurred. When his scheme was lastly revealed, the unscrupulous thief had snagged the equal of $12 million in the present day.

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Samuel Clinton Carnes

Clinton Samuel Carnes was a gifted grifter. A local of Jonesboro, GA, then a small city south of Atlanta, Carnes was the son of a Civil Conflict hero, Samual Carnes, and Fannie Carnes.

His first identified rip-off happened in Birmingham, Alabama. He was working for Birmingham Waterworks when he took out a newspaper advert, searching for buyers for his new firm that might make wage loans or loans to employed of us that mainly wanted an advance till payday. He had as many as fifteen buyers to the tune of $1000 every, then he disappeared. A type of taken within the scheme was a Meridian, Mississippi man, G.M. Armstrong, who pressed fees that led to Carnes being indicted by a Grand Jury.

As Carnes was on the lam, he put collectively fairly the resumé of legal exercise. He took a job with a railroad in West Clinton, Indiana. He was reported to have absconded with the corporate’s payroll in 1914. In later depositions, he adamantly denied this accusation. Nonetheless, the resort proprietor the place he had been staying was nonetheless holding his baggage and private belongings for non-payment when his exploits got here to gentle in 1928.

From there, Carnes headed to Kansas Metropolis, the place he opened an actual property firm. In brief order, he was in authorized bother once more. This time he didn’t escape. He was charged with utilizing the mail to defraud. He pled responsible and was sentenced to 13 months of incarceration. He was housed in a county jail in Clinton, Missouri.

Whereas an inmate on the jail there, his earlier deeds in Birmingham had been found, and he was despatched there to face trial for these crimes. He was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to a 12 months and a day. Carnes was returned to Atlanta to serve his sentence within the Federal Penitentiary.

Surprisingly, when he was launched, he landed a job as a monetary auditor with the Hunter Firm. One in every of their shoppers was the Dwelling Mission Board of the Southern Baptists, and Carnes was a part of the staff assigned to audit their books. The Dwelling Mission Board’s goal was to mortgage cash to needy church buildings.

As the corporate’s staff offered their findings to the Board, the members had been impressed by the recommendations Carnes made and supplied him a place as an workplace assistant, which he accepted. On the time, he and his household lived in a humble house in Atlanta’s Grant Park group.

Not lengthy after Carnes joined the Board, the treasurer job grew to become accessible, and he accepted the place, definitely with greenback indicators in his imaginative and prescient. He efficiently posted the bond required to carry that place. Not lengthy after that chance dropped into his lap, Carnes started searching for out small banks for loans to the Board, though the cash by no means made it to that vacation spot.

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Carnes house in Atlanta’s unique Druid Hills neighborhood

Carnes’s private life started to flourish. Quickly he relocated his household to a extra upscale neighborhood and commenced to extend his social community. He joined probably the most prestigious golf equipment and organizations in Atlanta, just like the Druid Hills Golf Membership and the native Shriner’s Temple. He bought the best luxurious cars. He paid for his sons’ school schooling, invested in actual property, and, in his most seen gesture, constructed a mansion in one in every of Atlanta’s most unique neighborhoods. He grew to become a distinguished determine in his church and, by all accounts, gave the impression to be a pillar of Atlanta society.

Nobody questioned precisely how he afforded his extravagant way of life on a $4500 wage. All appeared so as till the afternoon of August 15, when Carnes informed his chauffeur that he was heading to Raleigh, NC, on enterprise. He was witnessed in a gathering with two unknown males within the workplace of his actual property firm later that afternoon, then merely disappeared. When nobody had heard from him, he was reported lacking, and the Board started a seek for him and researching his dealings.

Initially, the headlines solely talked about a lacking Baptist official. His photograph was revealed in newspapers within the area. Investigations turned up the likelihood that he had a checkered previous, and rumors started to flow into. When an Atlanta Structure reporter heard the story, the newspaper began to dig into jail data. Information had been discovered on the Atlanta Penitentiary of an inmate who served time there beneath the identify George Harris however had an alias in his file, C.S. Carnes. This document pointed them to Birmingham and Missouri. Dr. V.O. Harvard signed the bail type for the inmate suspected of being Carnes. He was Carnes’s brother-in-law.

His household had initially denied any data of his background. They claimed he was in Cartersville in the course of the time of the Missouri imprisonment, so it could have been inconceivable for the convict and the treasurer to be one and the identical. Then native witnesses informed investigators that the household informed them Carnes had been touring throughout these years, and the suspicion was confirmed. Consultants had matched up jail and arrest data from Alabama and Missouri and pictures together with his present photographs and data. Consultants conclusively proved his true identification primarily based on these data, ruling out the Cartersville situation and with affirmation from an interview together with his brother-in-law. This data was revealed in a closed assembly with the Board. The story started circulating within the public realm. An Atlanta Structure headline on August 31 confirmed to the world his identification.

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A newspaper photograph detailing Carnes’s document

Church officers expressed shock on the particulars of his background, saying they had been “shocked” however believed the knowledge to be in error. They issued a press release that they’d retained the accounting agency Ernst and Ernst to carry out an audit after they grew to become conscious of his disappearance. To date, it confirmed no irregularities. In addition they described his non-public enterprise affairs and actual property investments as “glorious situation.” Initially, it was reported that the Board had $884,376 in receipts and that there was no scarcity.

Quickly the investigations started to disclose the reality. After a protracted closed-door assembly, they needed to come to phrases with the truth that the person they’d trusted was a legal.

The auditors described his actions as “pyramiding.” Carnes secured loans from 150 banks in eighteen states within the Board’s identify. He would safe a mortgage, depart a part of the proceeds in a deposit account, instruct the lending financial institution to deduct the accrued curiosity from that account, and pocket the remaining. Finally, the entire of the monies stolen would add as much as $909,461, or over $12 million in in the present day’s {dollars}. All that cash, meant for the Board, ended up in Carnes’s arms.

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Lois Griffin

Carnes had been extravagant past funding his visibly luxurious way of life. He had additionally agreed to finance the careers of two aspiring actresses, Lois Griffin of the US and Sonya Nordlie from Sweden, paying them giant sums of money upfront in trade for a share of their future earnings. There was no document of any inquiry, ever, by the Board into Carnes’ actions, and nobody had ever checked his background.

It was additionally found that Carnes and his spouse divorced in Cartersville in 1916 on the grounds of “excessive cruelty.” He was reported to have a “very violent mood” and brought on her a lot grief and unhappiness. The 2 remarried in 1918.

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Sonya Nordlie

On September 8, a warrant was issued for Carnes’ arrest. Based on Solicitor John Boykin, the preliminary two indictments had been for embezzlement of $69,000 and $88,000, with extra to return. The seek for Carnes was initially centered in Birmingham, as a witness positioned him on a practice headed to that vacation spot. One other report had him in New Orleans, however no hint was discovered.

Carnes made his method to Winnipeg, Canada. He had been there for just a few weeks when somebody who had seen his photograph in a newspaper acknowledged him. Police trailed him for 3 days to verify their suspicions, then arrested him. When confronted, he first gave the identify Frank J. Lewis of Milwaukee, then admitted to his true identification and waived extradition.

Winnipeg’s Chief Constable, C.S. Newton, wired Atlanta Chief of Detectives A.L. Poole, saying, “Have C.S. Carnes held right here, admits identification. Wire directions.” Carnes informed Canadian authorities that many of the cash he embezzled was used for hush cash to outdated acquaintances. Atlanta authorities instantly dismissed that chance.

When requested about his time “on the lam,” he would solely say he had made a cease in “a Southern metropolis earlier than touring to Chicago, Milwaukee, and Winnipeg. He had reportedly meant to start out a brand new enterprise in Winnipeg. He informed authorities that he meant to create and market a breakfast cereal. He already had enterprise connections and an worker employed. Carnes had $3100 in money on him when he was apprehended.

Carnes Train Station
A crowd gathers to see Carnes arrive again in Atlanta

Assistant Fulton County Solicitor John Hudson and Deputy Sheriff J.A. Talbot traveled to Winnipeg to escort Carnes again to Atlanta. A large crowd gathered on the rail station in Atlanta to get a glimpse of Carnes on his arrival. He was held within the tower on the Fulton County jail, pending trial. As he was being held, fees had been filed for his outdated crimes in Indiana. Fulton County filed an extra cost for embezzlement of $80,000 in bonds. His father handed away whereas he was awaiting trial.

A plea discount allowed Carnes to plead responsible on one cost and be sentenced to 5 to seven years. The others could be dismissed if he served out his sentence and didn’t search parole or pardon. Carnes accomplished his sentence, moved to Denver, then to Salt Lake Metropolis. He died there of a coronary heart assault on July 31, 1950. His boss on the Dwelling Mission Board took retirement just some days after Carnes was captured in Winnipeg.

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