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Citizen-Times reports,

Bellamy to give bank fraud player’s donation to charity

Money given by fraud convict 

ASHEVILLE — Democratic congressional candidate Terry Bellamy will give to charity $350 she got from a local pastor facing five years in prison for his part in a bank fraud scheme involving real estate investors.

Nicholas Dimitris, who leads C3 Church on Merrimon Avenue, pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy for serving as a straw borrower to get $825,000 from Pisgah Community Bank, according to federal court papers.

Dimitris made the political donation in February, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Fundraising reports were due Sunday.

Dimitris’ donation is a small part of Bellamy’s total.She is winning the money race among Democrats in the 10th District primary with $121,356 raised in the first quarter. Most of the money came from individuals.

She had $52,433 on hand at the end of the quarter. She got $2,400 from four political groups, including outgoing Democratic 11th District U.S. Rep Heath Shuler’s 3rd and Long PAC.

Bellamy, also Asheville’s mayor, said she did not know Dimitris personally but does know his wife and once spoke at his church in her official capacity as the city’s top leader.

She said she made the decision to give the money to Western Carolinians for Criminal Justice on Patton Avenue after being asked about Dimitris’ donation by the Citizen-Times this week.

“We felt that would be a better place for his funding,” she said.

Four people have already pleaded guilty to being involved in schemes to make or receive millions of dollars in straw loans in the Asheville area following a federal investigation.

They are former Bank of Asheville President Gordon “Buddy” Greenwood, former Pisgah Community Bank officials Robert Craig Gourlay and David G. Smith, and Dimitris.

High-profile real estate investors Avery Ted “Buck” Cashion III and his wife Joan Lusk Cashion, Raymond M. “Ray” Chapman and Seven Falls developer Keith Arthur Vinson have been charged in the scheme.

Dimitris graduated from high school in New York in 1994 and studied theology at Beacon University in Georgia, according to court papers. He could not be reached for comment.

His C3 Church is a charismatic congregation affiliated with Christian City Church International.

C3 was founded by Phil and Chris Pringle in Australia. The organization has hundreds of affiliated churches worldwide and several in North Carolina.

– JON OSTENDORFF, Bellamy to give bank fraud player’s donation to charity, Money given by fraud convict, http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20120420/NEWS/304200028/Bellamy-donates-tainted-funds?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFrontpage%7Cs&nclick_check=1, Citizen-Times, 20/04/2012. (Accessed 08/07/2012.)


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