Cauzae McCall, the south Charlotte man accused of bilking a Monroe Church and its leaders out of about $250,000, pleaded guilty in court Monday and apologized to his victims, the court and his family.
A Union County judge sentenced him to a minimum of five years in prison and ordered him to pay back the money to the church and the individuals.
McCall turned himself in to authorities in April on felony charges related to an investment-fraud scheme. In court Monday, prosecutors said he used his background as a lawyer, pastor and successful trader to convince Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church, its pastor and a church member to invest money with him.
He promised an 18 percent return when he took the $200,000 from the church and $25,000 each from its pastor, the Rev. Osco E. Gardin Jr., and a church member between July 2005 and February 2006. But the church has seen just one payment so far, for about $3,750, prosecutors said. McCall used the investments for entertainment and personal items, they said, rattling off a list of places where he spent the money, including Alltel, Applebee's and Bertucci's, they said.
McCall then stood and apologized, saying he never intended to cheat the church or its members.
“As the efforts to build the money began to fall behind, it created a snowball,” he said.
Court documents say McCall had been connected to at least one other Charlotte-area church, and prosecutors said Monday that similar charges would be filed in Mecklenburg County in connection with a related investment scheme.