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Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Firm Says Church Must Return ‘Blood Money’

FORT WORTH (CN) - A Texas company is demanding a church return over $200,000 donated by a former executive who was accused of stealing millions and is imprisoned for ordering a hit on his wife.

Raley Holdings LLC sued First Baptist Church, Carrollton, Texas in Tarrant County District Court on Friday. The company says its former chief financial officer, Frank Howard, diverted over $6 million for himself between 2009 and 2012 without its knowledge. Howard is not a party to the lawsuit.

"In August 2012, Howard was arrested for criminal solicitation of capital murder when he hired hit men to kill his wife Nancy," the eight-page complaint states. "Luckily Nancy survived the shooting but was left with significant injuries and the loss of an eye after being shot in the head. Howard has subsequently been convicted of attempted murder and is service a life sentence in the Texas state penitentiary."

Raley Holdings says it then ordered forensic accounting and discovered that $201,000 of its money was paid to First Baptist over a two-and-a-half year period.

"The money Howard used to hire the shooters to kill Nancy come[s] from the same source as the money Howard gave to the defendant," the complaint states. "It was blood money and it was not Howard's to give."

The company says it has sued Howard in civil court and an arbitrator awarded it over $8.5 million in actual and punitive damages plus interest in December.

First Baptist did not immediately respond to an email message requesting comment Tuesday afternoon.

Raley Holdings seeks actual damages and a constructive trust for unjust enrichment and money had and received. It is represented by Matthew Bobo in Fort Worth.

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