Deacon, ex-business manager accused of using $58,000 in Edmond church funds for own gain

Bill Dwight Coyle, 62, of Edmond, OK, was charged with eight felony counts. According to court documents, a co-worker says Coyle, the former business manager at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, resented a former church pastor and thought he should have been paid more for his work.
by Tim Willert Modified: December 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm •  Published: December 18, 2012
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— A former business manager accused of embezzling more than $58,000 from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church ordered a gun holster, grenade pouch and survival guide online and paid for the items with a church-issued American Express card, court documents show.

Bill Dwight Coyle, 62, of Edmond, was charged Monday in Oklahoma County District Court with eight counts of violating the state's computer crimes act.

Among 880 items Coyle bought from Amazon.com with church money over a 12-year period were three movies — including “Apocalypse Now” — a pair of water shoes and tiger stripe military pants totaling $196.89, according to a probable cause affidavit filed with the charges.

Most of the items Coyle purchased and had delivered to the church “were not religious items,” Edmond police reported.

Coyle, who also was a church deacon, was fired earlier this year after a co-worker told church officials he owed more than $58,000.

Accountant Lynda Hearn told police investigators Coyle owed the church $58,341, a total that “had accumulated over many years,” according to the affidavit.

An independent audit that led to a police investigation revealed that “Coyle appeared to benefit from” an additional $20,454 in church funds. Another $32,313 in purchases made with the church's Discover and American Express cards are unaccounted for but could be linked to Coyle, the affidavit states.

Coyle, police reported, acknowledged during a February meeting with church officials that he spent $58,000 of church funds on himself.

Coyle's canonical faculties were suspended at that time, the affidavit shows.

Coyle was not in custody Tuesday evening. He could not be reached for comment.

His attorney, Tom Riesen, said “we don't feel like it's appropriate to comment at this time.”

Hearn, 51, worked with Coyle for more than a decade.

The accountant told investigators she watched over the years as Coyle used church credit cards and a church cellphone “for his own personal gain,” the affidavit states.

The audit shows that in October 2010, Coyle gave the Discover card to his grandson, Cody Coyle, who used the card “on an almost daily basis from then until Coyle left the church between February and July, when police began investigating the embezzlement allegations, police reported.

Accountant's report

The affidavit also reveals Coyle used the American Express card to pay for more than $18,000 in purchases since 2000. Another $3,283.19 was used to pay for two church-owned cellphones, including one Coyle gave to his grandson to use, police reported.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for FOXSports.com in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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