Aurora Pastor Pleads Guilty in Insurance Fraud Case

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Centennial, Colo. (AP) A prominent Aurora pastor has pleaded guilty to felony theft in an insurance fraud case and has been sentenced to eight years of probation and ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution.

The Rev. Acen Phillips entered the plea today in Arapahoe County district court. In exchange, prosecutors dropped 12 other counts and AIG Life Insurance Co. dropped a federal civil suit against him.

Phillips, founder of New Birth Temple Of Praise Community Baptist Church, was accused of defrauding AIG of $575,000. He could have faced up to 81 years in prison and up to $5 million in fines if convicted on all counts.

Phillips apologized to the court and the community and asked for “the opportunity to redeem myself to the community.”