August 28, 2023 - CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - On August 24, 2023, David Michael Apps, 50 of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was sentenced to 54 months in prison by the Honorable Charles E. Atchley, Jr., in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
As part of the plea agreement filed with the court in February 2023, Apps agreed to plead guilty to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud in violation of 18 USC § 1343. In addition to the 54 months’ term of imprisonment, Apps was also sentenced to 3 years’ supervised release, ordered to pay $1.08 million in restitution, and forfeited $4,200 in cash seized by the United States.
According to court records, from 2014 through 2021, Apps was involved in a scheme to embezzle over $1.3 million while acting as the business manager of Broad Street United Methodist Church in Cleveland, TN. App’s scheme included the use of an official church credit card to pay for personal expenses. Some of these expenses included payment for personal travel, automobiles, medical bills for family members, boat/watercraft and marina fees, and other personal items, none of which was related to church business. Apps used his federal firearms license to funnel additional stolen money through his business account by using stolen church money to acquire a large supply of firearms. Apps also wrote checks to himself under the guise of church member donations to support supposed medical bills relating to his false claim that he had brain cancer. Apps additionally failed to pay the church’s payroll taxes over a period of years, which resulted in over a $1 million tax liability to the IRS from the church.
Assistant United States Attorney Steven Neff represents the United States.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI as part of the Smoky Mountains Financial Crimes Task Force.
Source: DOJ Release