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DOCUMENTS: Tyler pastor accused of stealing from elderly allegedly took money from nonprofit, former church

In one indictment, Milton is accused of transferring the proceeds from criminal activity between bank accounts for just under four years.

TYLER, Texas — A longtime Tyler pastor recently accused of stealing more than $30,000 from an elderly couple now faces two charges alleging he took thousands from his former church and a local nonprofit. 

Rev. Jerome Milton, who was arrested and indicted in 2021 on accusations of property theft worth $30,000 to $150,000 (against an elderly individual), was indicted on charges of money laundering and enhanced property theft worth $30,000 to $150,000.

A grand jury handed down the most recent indictments on June 22. Court records show that these offenses happened in February 2017.

According to the indictments, Milton, reverend at Open Door Bible Church in Tyler, took between $30,000 and $150,000 from the East Texas Communities Foundation and Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church (now named Greater New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church) from Feb. 2, 2017 to Jan. 5, 2018.

In the indictment for the money laundering charge, Milton is accused of transferring the proceeds from theft, misapplication of fiduciary property, forgery and credit card abuse between bank accounts for just under four years (Feb. 2017 to Oct. 2021).

For 32 years, Milton was the pastor at Greater New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, where he later retired. He later came out of retirement to lead the Open Door Bible Church in Tyler. 

Previous police documents mentioned allegations Milton was asked to leave Greater New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church around 2018 by church membership because of “his handling of finances and other suspicious behavior on his part.”

However, Milton in a CBS19 interview said he left Greater New Pleasant Hill Baptist in better shape than it was.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Tyler pastor accused of theft, alleged victims speak out ahead of court date

In an affidavit related to Milton's October arrest, Texas Bank and Trust records for Milton showed he deposited two checks totaling $5,000 written to him from an American State Bank account named Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.  

Kermit Lane, a deacon with Greater New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, said the church did not write Milton those checks or any since he left.

Lane said Greater New Pleasant never had a bank account with American State Bank. He also told police the check signatures were from Milton’s personal secretary while at the church, who died early last year, the affidavit read.

The affidavit shows that Lane told police the document Milton produced claiming he had authority to open bank accounts for the church was false. 

Milton's case is set for trial for all three charges is currently on Aug. 15 in the 114th District Court. 


Police documents from last year state Milton unlawfully took money from congregation members, Wayford and Marilyn Brown, using multiple check withdrawals and ATM transactions while he serving as their power of attorney and finances. The document states Milton used the funds he took for car payments and hotel rooms.

In a previous interview with CBS19 in May, Milton denied doing anything illegal as he had legal power of attorney and was taking care of the Browns.

“I'm always being called a thief, always taking the money. I took care of Mr. and Mrs. Brown. It’s not something I asked for, not something I sought. They brought an attorney in to give me durable power of attorney,” Milton said. “I was in charge of all of their medical care, I was in charge of all of their finances and I paid bills.”

The Browns’ son Darryl Brown said Milton left just 28 cents in his parents’ bank accounts. He has since taken guardianship over his parents, which supersedes power of attorney.

The Tyler police investigation began when Darryl Brown heard two church members say Milton was misusing his parents’ bank cards and getting them to sign blank checks.

According to the arrest affidavit, multiple checks were written to Milton using the Browns’ account with memos like “bills;” “church tithe;” “church donation;” or “pastor aide.”

RELATED: Trial of Tyler pastor accused of stealing over $30,000 from elderly couple set for August

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