Arrest Made Connection with Medart Church Fraud

By: WCSO Release, Jerry Askin Email
By: WCSO Release, Jerry Askin Email

UPDATE 05-17-2011 at 11:40pm by Jerry Askin

Janie and Harold Thurmond were planning to take a missionary trip with 20 other members from their church last July 2010, but days before their departure, they found out their trip was off.

"We were going to Galapagos Island on a missions trip and I called American Airlines to check on the tickets and was told we did not have tickets," says Janie Thurmond.

Authorities say 70-year-old Charles McComas who owned a South Florida travel agency used more than $27,000 from the Medart Assembly of God Church for general business purposes and a potential sale of the travel agency that he said fell through.

"We could not believe it, I could not believe it," says Janie Thurmond.

The Thurmond's say the church had been planning the missions trip for months and while they're veteran missionary goers, others would have been missionaries for the first time.

"This man just took advantage of his position and took our money," says Harold Thurmond.

WCTV stopped by the church today just to get reaction from the pastor, he declined to comment.

Even some residents can't believe someone would steal funds from a church.

"They had a mission to go over and help others, and to see all their hard work plunged and taken away from them is very sad," says Wakulla County resident Andrea Kindell.

"Taking away from the people that care and wanna do the right thing, it's atrocious," says Renee Calhoun of Wakulla.

The Thurmond's say the pastor has gotten many donations and has given many of the church members the money they lost from that missions trip. McComas is now being held in the Dade County jail. charged with grand theft over $20,000. He is expected to be transported to the Wakulla County Jail, although it's unknown exactly when.
Crawfordville, Florida - May 17, 2011 -

Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested a 70-year-old Coral Gables man in connection with a fraud involving a Medart church and $27,344 invested in a missionary trip that church parishioners never took to the Galapagos Islands off Equator.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agent arrested McComas Tuesday, May 17 in Miami and transported him to jail in Dade County where he will be held pending extradition or posting of bond.

Charles Bowman “Bo” McComas was charged with grand theft, over $20,000 under $100,000, in the case. He was arrested in South Florida and is expected to be transported to the Wakulla County Jail.

Twenty-two members of the Medart Assembly of God Church began planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands in 2010. Pastor Jeff McFalls contacted the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office in January 2011 and filed a complaint against McComas and World Mission Tours in Dade County.

The church pastor told investigators that Medart Assembly of God has used the travel agency for 16 years and paid their money for the trip in April and June 2010.

In July 2010, a church member contacted American Airlines and requested to use her frequent flyer mileage for the trip and the airline informed her that they did not have a reservation for the church members.

Detective Drew Vass, Detective Matt Helms and Lt. Sherrell Morrison began a financial investigation and determined that World Mission Tours was purchased by a travel agency in Central Florida which sued World Mission Tours for money it was owed.

A check with American Airlines Corporate Security determined that a down payment on the airline seats was sent to American, but the rest of the payment was not received prior to the ticketing deadline and the reservation down payment of $2,500 was refunded.

Investigators contacted the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) which regulates the sale of airline tickets and discovered that World Mission Tours lost its accreditation prior to the incident due to lack of payment to airlines. The down payment for the seats was made through another travel agency who agreed to work with McComas and take on some of his clients.

During interviews with McComas in Coral Gables, investigators learned that he used the Medart Assembly of God money for general business purposes and a potential sale of the company that he said fell through.

Investigators also determined that the church group paid for $10,000 worth of lumber that was waiting for them on the Galapagos Islands. It is unclear what has happened to the lumber. The church members planned to leave for their trip on July 31, 2011. Deputy Cole Wells and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) also investigated.

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  • by Ned the Ringmaster Location: USA on Sep 14, 2011 at 07:39 AM
    There was a hearing today (09/14/11) with the FL Asst. State Attorney General in regard to this matter - is there any results concerning the matter?
  • by Ned the Ringmaster on May 19, 2011 at 04:55 AM
    This is a story of a real 'BoZo' who has finally been caught 4 misappropriation of company funds. This is sad because this was all to be done for the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:33). This is tragedy about lack of character. In the end is wasn't about booking 'missions' trips for churches, but "general business purpose". Renee Calhoun you made a great comment in the TV report - bless you!
    • reply
      by Ned the Ringmaster on May 19, 2011 at 06:40 AM in reply to Ned the Ringmaster
      and I might add, this is what the arrested one was quoted as saying, as to where the funds went "general business purposes and a potential sale of the company that he said fell through." Again, a poor example - to not use what he was trusted with to bring the service that was promised. Question, "Are there more groups and organizations he did this to?" If so, everyone should be paid back in full with interest - that my friends is true character and integrity. What a shame at 70 years old a man has to learn that . . .
  • by Steve Location: Marietta, Georgia on May 17, 2011 at 07:12 PM
    It's me again! Whom is this, and from where did he come? I want to know how this happened? Whom did this befriend, or betray? I am serious about this. What is next? Steve.
    • reply
      by me on May 18, 2011 at 05:34 AM in reply to Steve
      Get a life Steve - you sound like a complete jerk.
      • reply
        by Anon. on May 18, 2011 at 02:29 PM in reply to me
        You ma'am, are not worthy of a response, however, Steve said it! He said he was a member of that church! When you insult this dude, because you are stupid...New show! Maurey! Maurey! Maurey!
  • by Spelling Bee Location: Mayberry on May 17, 2011 at 07:08 PM
    Equator? Where is that?
    • reply
      by Diction Boy on May 18, 2011 at 03:43 AM in reply to Spelling Bee
      It's in the spelling verifier right next to Equador. Now get back to your sniveling about spelling.
      • reply
        by Ole Hickory Marietta, Ga. on May 18, 2011 at 02:24 PM in reply to Diction Boy
        Where is all this hatred coming from? Be nice to people, and they will be nice to you! You reap, what you sow. Be more understanding, and others may understand you. This is not rocket science, and this is not "The Sermon On The Mount!" Just try to be civilized, and not animals! An animal, is a lower form-of-life.
  • by J. Harold Location: Crawfordville on May 17, 2011 at 06:46 PM
    My wife and I paid for this mission. We were greatly disappointed but we live in a sin sick world. We are all sinners...and in need of a Savior. It looks like we could have gone to Coral Gables and told Mr. McComas about our need of a Savior.
    • reply
      by Gary on May 18, 2011 at 09:51 AM in reply to J. Harold
      May I ask why the Galapagos Islands were chosen to do Missionary work? They are a VITAL natural habitat extremely important to the bio-diversity of this planet. They should be left pristine and not visited, other than by scientists doing research. I don't even think nature-lovers, such as myself, should ever visit them, as the presence of humans is detrimental to the natural habitat. Why not go to Africa or a 3rd world nation to do Missionary work? Why to such an important, pristine place?
      • reply
        by Tyree Marietta, Ga. on May 18, 2011 at 11:11 AM in reply to Gary
        Gary. Just sending this message... There are no "third world countries, anymore!" The term "third world", was used to describe non-aligned countries. Non aligned countries were defined as aligned with neither the U.S.S.R., nor the U.S.A. therefore, third world. There has been no third world since the fall, of-the-wall. On the other hand, if you are talking about the mid east, or southwest Asia, then that would include members of the former Ottoman/Turk Empire. When you say Africa, in your blog, I suggest that you comment on "which- Africa?" If you mean north Africa, that includes the former Ottoman/Turk, Empire. If you mean something else, you may want to blog "Sub-Saharan African continent." This would include nations south of the desert. Thankyou.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 01:31 PM in reply to Gary
        because the galapagos islands people need jesus too
    • reply
      by Anon. on May 18, 2011 at 12:23 PM in reply to J. Harold
      I am very sorry, that this happened to you, and your lovely wife. I am a member...Be safe, and secure in this, my prayers are for you and yours.
  • by anon Location: <<>> on May 17, 2011 at 04:09 PM
    Smirk for the camera, Judas.
  • by Steve Location: Marietta, Georgia on May 17, 2011 at 01:05 PM
    This is my Church. I hate that this has happened.
    • reply
      by Medart PK on May 24, 2011 at 12:50 PM in reply to Steve
      Steve who? idk a steve from Marietta though i could be wrong
  • by me on May 17, 2011 at 12:06 PM
    Throw the book at him and then throw him UNDER the jail.
    • reply
      by Crooked Televangelist With Perfect Hair on May 17, 2011 at 12:37 PM in reply to me
      Amen! I'm almost sure that's what ol' Jesus would have wanted....
      • reply
        by 8675309 on May 18, 2011 at 02:50 PM in reply to Crooked Televangelist With Perfect Hair
        Whatever! You "Crooked Televangelist With Perfect Hair" What were you thinking when you posted this? The roaches, and the rats, will for-sure, and for certain-take over this place when we are gone! You ma'am, are just a punk wannabee, and have no respect coming, and are owed none! Punk wannabee!
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