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Saturday, May 26, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor charged with identity theft

MOUNT CARMEL, Pa. — A Baptist minister was accused of using the identity of his church's secretary-treasurer to charge up to $28,000 on two credit cards.

The Rev. Raymond Lee Clayton Sr., pastor of Grace Fellowship Baptist Church, was charged with falsely acquiring and using a credit card, forgery and related offenses.

Clayton, 43, charged $25,000 to a U.S. Bancorp credit card issued in his name and the name of Patricia Tomedi, the church's secretary-treasurer, and $3,334 to a Staples credit card issued in Tomedi's name — using her Social Security number, police said.

Tomedi, 82, told police she initially confronted Clayton about the Staples credit card and he told her he was responsible for the charges, police said.

Earlier this month, Tomedi said she received a call from a U.S. Bank representative informing her that $25,000 in charges were past due, and that a Discover representative also called to ask her if she had applied for a credit card in her name and Clayton's name, police said.

Clayton was arraigned Tuesday and remained in the Northumberland County Prison on $10,000 bail Friday. Authorities said they did not know whether he had hired an attorney.