21. June 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized

UPDATE on “Rev.” Acen Phillips

A while back I reported on “Rev.” Acen Phillips of Colorado, [Link ] who was accused of insurance fraud. Apparently there was so much strong evidence against him that he went ahead and pleaded guilty.

A prominent Denver bishop pleaded guilty Thursday to felony theft in an insurance fraud case and has been sentenced to eight years probation and ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution.

The Rev. Acen Phillips, 73, entered the plea on Thursday in Arapahoe County District Court. In exchange, prosecutors dropped 11 other counts and AIG Life Insurance Co. dropped a federal civil suit against him.

He was also sentenced to perform 100 hours of community service and ordered to attend a theft offenders class and a victim empathy group.

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 said he was deeply sorry and that he recognized that he made serious errors.

“I would like to apologize to the court and my community,” he said. “I would certainly like the opportunity to redeem myself to the community.”

He told the court that at the time, he did not understand his actions, but he understands it now.

At issue were claims filed under a group life insurance policy taken out for American Church United, which prosecutors say was headed by Phillips.

Prosecutors had accused Phillips, of suburban Aurora, of falsifying documents to funnel money to church groups he controlled, sometimes showing up at funerals to make contact with family members about filing an insurance claim.

In at least one instance, prosecutors alleged Phillips asked a mother to sign her deceased son’s name on a beneficiary form a few days after the funeral.

When Call7 Investigator Tony Kovaleski confronted Phillips about the allegations 15 months ago, Phillips said, “When you hear the real story, it will look real good.”

He never elaborated, nor explained his actions.

In court Thursday, the judge asked Phillips how a man who had done so much for the community engage in that type of behavior.

Some called Phillips sentence a “soft conclusion” but prosecutors agreed to the plea deal because the 73-year-old bishop has no prior criminal record.

“We decided that to take the plea to the highest charge was a good disposition, and a course that resulted in a certainty of a restitution order of a half-million dollars for AIG, who is the only out-of-pocket victim in the case,” said Attorney General John Suthers.

AIG said it is pleased with the outcome of the case.

“We think it sends an important message to anyone who intends to defraud insurance companies,” AIG said in a statement.


Hat tip to Evangelist ET for story lead


  1. I guess in this economy, the folk didn’t raise enough for the “Pastor’s Anniversary”, so the rebbun felt compelled to defraud the insurance company.

  2. I just left living above the new church sight that he run’s now. Still New Birth, but on E. 29th Ave. Denver. I didn’t know, but had heard about all of the Bishop’s trouble. I seen how he is with the fakeness of running an unholy church. We just had an Anniversary for the church twice this year. One was a dinner, and the other was a week long event at the church. I knew that that was wrong, but I was talked into hosting one of the nights of the event at the church. That place ripped apart a beautiful relationship between me, and one of its decons. The Bishop himself had a hand in on that. I will never return to that God for saken place no matter what. I feel sorry for the member’s of New Birth, because they have no clue about how much this man is conning them out of their Love Gift’s. I know they say that you shouldn’t speak ill of a man of God, but 1 Timothy 3 say that a leader should be blameless. Acen is not, and someone should findout what he knows about where Aaronee’ body is, so that little girl’s body can be laid to rest. That the worst part of all of this. God help his family, because they have had to be real embarrased by his actions. I love the wife, and granddaughter of Acen, and will always keep them in prayer. But, the drugs and drinking that go on up in the housing part of that church seems not to concern him in anyway. Thank you Jesus that I was strong enuff to run away from there. I pray that the other member’s will be strong enuff to do the same.