Son of Tyler pastor pleads guilty to assisting father in defrauding elderly couple
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The son of a Tyler pastor who is serving 10 years probation for defrauding an elderly couple has pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Jerome Anthony Milton pleaded guilty to a charge of credit/debit card abuse against an elderly individual in Judge Austin Reeve Jackson’s court Thursday. He received two years of deferred adjudication. He is the son of the Rev. Jerome Milton, the pastor of Open Door Bible Church in Tyler, who was convicted for charges of credit card or debit card abuse of elderly, among other charges.
A restitution hearing has been set for Feb. 7, 2023.
“The purpose of the restitution hearing is to make the victim whole,” said defense attorney Beverly Melontree. “There’s a rough ballpark figure that it may be roughly about $70,000 that is owed to the victim.”
Melontree says both Jerome Anthony Milton and Rev. Jerome Milton will be at the hearing.
An elderly Tyler couple who had health issues including dementia and a debilitating fall were being cared for by their pastor, Rev. Milton.
Rev. Milton had power of attorney for the Browns, and had asked two other church members to help him look after the elderly couple that he was ultimately accused of defrauding after one of the church members alerted the couple’s son, who reported it to Tyler police.
An investigation uncovered that Milton had written checks to himself from their account and deposited them into his own personal and church accounts. The affidavit also says he had used the couple’s bank cards for numerous ATM transactions to withdraw cash from March 2021 until July 2021.
As investigators reviewed surveillance video from ATMs in Milton’s case, it showed that sometimes the person making the withdrawals was Rev. Milton’s son, Jerome Anthony Milton, 27. Rev. Milton reviewed the images and agreed that the person using the couple’s ATM cards was his son. He said he sometimes would send Anthony, as he is called, to pull money out of the ATM from the Browns’ accounts, according to the affidavit.
On June 18, the couple’s debit card was used four times in a row at Walmart on Troup Highway. The person using the card in those transactions, during which a total of $300 cash back was received, was Jerome Anthony Milton, the affidavit says. Rev. Milton identified his son as the person in the surveillance video, and said he did not know why Anthony would have made those transactions.
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