Thomas was pastor of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, which saw its building in New Orleans flooded following Hurricane Katrina. The church did not have flood insurance and received a $252,000 federal disaster loan and a $35,000 grant from the Bush-Clinton Katrina fund.
Prosecutors said Thomas deposited the $35,000 into a bank account he controlled, along with the initial $10,000 loan payment. Authorities said Thomas spent at least $10,000 of the relief money on a personal vehicle.
Court records show Thomas also obligated his small congregation for a $39,000 loan for church furniture and accessories.