Message Tab

Former missionary pleads guilty to wire fraud

 

RICHMOND, VA (BP) — Former Southern Baptist missionary Brady Nurse pleaded guilty Oct. 21 in a federal court to fraudulently obtaining approximately $300,000 in mission funds over a period of five years while working as a logistics and business coordinator for the International Mission Board in Portugal.

Nurse, 37, who resigned as a missionary in January, could face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and an order to make full restitution of the money he took. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 21, 2015, by U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer.

Nurse and his wife Andrea were appointed IMB missionaries in March 2006. His wire fraud activity was discovered earlier this year by the mission board’s internal auditing procedures. It was reported by the board’s internal auditor and general counsel to the FBI, which began a months-long investigation resulting in federal charges against the Montana native. Nurse’s plea agreement was announced Oct. 21 by Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, VA, and FBI special agent Adam S. Lee after it was accepted by United States Magistrate Judge David J. Novak.

 

Amounts ‘routinely altered’

Nurse admitted in a statement filed with his plea agreement that he obtained more than $285,000 through 135 fraudulent reimbursement requests from 2008 to 2013 during his time in Portugal and after returning to the United States. In the statement, signed by Nurse and his attorney, he acknowledged that he “routinely altered” amounts on valid documents and invoices submitted on expense reports to increase his reimbursement; “submitted fraudulent, manufactured, and/or duplicated documentation” on expense reports, “falsely represented” quotes and estimates for service from vendors as services actually provided, rather than lower amounts actually charged; altered documentation associated with household shipping charges “to obtain additional benefit from an increase shipping allowance”; and falsely obtained reimbursement for non-reimbursable expenses.

After his resignation as a missionary, the statement added, Nurse continued to seek reimbursement for “suspect shipping expenses by false statements submitted to IMB through interstate emails.” He also received nearly $21,000 in additional funds through a clerical error by the board’s benefits department and has yet to return those funds.