A former youth pastor at Atlanta megachurch Perimeter Church has been added to the FBI’s Most Wanted List after being indicted in a $10 million investment fraud scheme.
Christopher Burns, 40, left the ministry in 2011 and became a financial advisor. His father, Bob Burns, was a lay leader at the church and associate pastor for more than 15 years. Burns became a youth pastor at Perimeter in 2007, according to The Roys Report.
As a “financial advisor,” Burns allegedly defrauded dozens of investors out of millions of dollars, the U.S. Department of Justice says. He has been charged with four counts of money laundering, two counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud.
Burns is currently missing.
He was last seen by his ex-wife and children two years ago.
In investment offerings, Burns promised high returns to investors with “little to no risk” and told them the funds would be used to launch startup businesses, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said. However, he reportedly used that money to help pay for a $1 million house, a boat, and an “obsession” with Disney vacations.”
His family went on several Disney-themed cruises and also took multiple annual trips to Disney World, including $8,000 a day VIP tours.
“I still feel awful,” said son Philip Burns. “Just me f—ing around at Magic Kingdom was (funded) by other people’s funds.
“I have [had] to rethink my entire life,” he added. “He was my role model.”
In September 2020, Burns left his Georgia home. His vehicle was found abandoned in a nearby parking garage, but no one has heard from him since. The day before he went missing, Burns and his wife agreed to a divorce and their home and other assets were given to her.
“The FBI is still seeking the public’s help in locating Burns and will continue to pursue him no matter how long he tries to evade the law,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, in a statement from the Department of Justice.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.