WARREN, Ind. (WANE) — A Huntington County pastor has been arrested on allegations he swindled money from a woman on the promise he could make charges against her son go away.
Scott E. Nedberg, 68, faces a charge of felony Theft in Huntington Circuit Court.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Nedberg – the pastor at Warren United Church of Christ in Warren – told a woman “he could have charges for her son dismissed or receive a reduced sentence for a sum of $8,000.”
The case began when the woman told a local attorney about the claim, and he called Huntington County Prosecutor Amy Richison. The attorney told Richison that after the woman told him the pastor’s claim, he gave her an audio recorder to record a conversation with the pastor.
In a meeting, the pastor reportedly told the woman for $8,000, he could either make sure the case is “shoved under other cases and never be filed,” or see to it that the woman’s son is sentenced to a rehab facility. The pastor said the $8,000 fee would be paid to the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department, the county prosecutor’s office and the county probation department, who “all get a cut of the money,” the affidavit said.
The pastor asked for $2,000 “pretty quick,” and said the remainder could be paid out later, the affidavit said.
Days later, police worked with the woman and set a meeting time for her to drop off the $2,000 to the pastor at his church. Police gave her $2,000 and put a recording device on her, the affidavit said.
In the church, police listened as the woman handed over the cash and the two talked about the remaining $6,000. After the woman left the church, police converged and arrested Nedberg.
In an interview with investigators, Nedberg said the whole promise was a lie, which he devised because he was in “‘so much debt that he is about to lose everything,” according to the affidavit said. He said he planned to use the $2,000 to pay bills, and said he never intended to keep the remaining $6,000.
Nedberg said “he came up with the scam all on his own and no one else, including his wife, knew what he was up to,” the affidavit said. He said he did not conspire with the prosecutor’s office, the sheriff’s department, or the probation department.