DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — A Delaware County pastor, his wife and her sister are accused of stealing from more than 100 people, after they were appointed by the court to act as guardians. Prosecutors say say Pastor Keith Collins, his wife, Carolyn Collins, and her sister, Gloria Byars preyed on some of the most vulnerable people.
They’re accused of financing a lofty lifestyle of expensive purchases and vacations by way of a $1 million theft scheme that District Attorney Katayoun Copeland says involved money laundering and the use of shell corporations to conceal the staggering theft.
“Gloria Byars, Keith Collins and Carolyn Collins were entrusted to care for our most vulnerable elderly citizens. Instead of simply doing their job, they cruelly embezzled over $1 million from over 100 incapacitated individuals,” Copeland said.
The three suspects surrendered Monday morning to answer an avalanche of felony charges.
Documents show the trio gained positions of trust in area court systems and acted as guardians for people no longer able to function independently.
Pastor Collins is accused of laundering some of the money through The Church of the Overcomer, which he owns with his wife.
“These are false accusations,” Collins said. “Because I’m a pastor and people are allowed to make donations to a church.”
Detectives say red flags went up over suspected improprieties in 2017. Courts across six counties quickly terminated their relationships with the defendants.
Andre Collins defended his brother.
“I believe in my heart when it’s over, you’ll see he is innocent of these charges,” he said.
None of the three defendants have been able to post bond.