THOU SHALT NOT STEAL
- BSO Case Number: BS02-07-0214
- PIO Number: 02-8-28
- Date: August 15, 2002 Place of Arrest: Fuel Nation, 4121 SW 47 Avenue, Davie
- Abundant Life Christian Centre, 1490 Banks Road, Margate
- Christopher Salmonson, 36, 3/18/66, male, 10501 NW 66 Street, Parkland
Description of Incident:
Broward Sheriff's Office detectives arrested a Parkland man for defrauding fellow church members out of nearly $1.7 million.
In December 1997, Christopher Salmonson asked the pastor of Abundant Life Christian Centre (ALCC) and other church administrators if they would be interested in buying the 10-acre lot adjacent to and south of the church, which is located at 1490 Banks Road in Margate. In the spring of 1998, after a payment structure was agreed upon, church administrators agreed to purchase the land. The contract, which was finalized on September 18, 1998, called for seven payments over the next two years totaling exactly $1,670.000.
The church made a final payment on February 2, 2000. In October of 2001, church administrator Eric Thomas received a letter stating that the 10-acre lot had been foreclosed on and the property had be returned to the original owner, Banks Coco, Inc. Detectives later learned that Margate Corner, Inc., - one of Salmonson’s companies - made one payment to Banks Coco than defaulted on the loan. They further learned that the bank never agreed Salmonson could sell the property to the church.
BSO started investigating the theft after being contacted by Abundant Life’s attorney. During BSO’s two-month long investigation, Strategic Investigations Division detectives learned that foreclosure action on Margate Corner, started about July 1998, more than two months before Abundant Life made its first payment on the land. After analyzing bank documents, detectives also learned that Salmonson converted each payment made by the church into cashier’s checks. BSO SID detectives said the cashier’s checks were either cashed at check cashing stores or made payable to other businesses owned and operated by Salmonson.
Salmonson was arrested around noon Thursday outside the headquarters of Fuel Nation, his current business venture, located in Davie at 4121 SW 47 Avenue. Salmonson faces 13 counts of grand theft and remains at the BSO’s Main Jail in lieu of $1,670.000, the same amount he stole from fellow parishioners.
- INVESTIGATORS: Dets. M. Brimm & J. Calabro, SID
- THIS REPORT BY: Veda Coleman-Wright/PIO
- photo of suspect - Christopher Salmonson