Kevin Cross:Redeeming a Squandered Life
By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club
CBN.com- “When Kevin Cross started law school, he thought he had left his former life behind, until the police knocked on his door.
Kevin recalls, “They said, ‘Raymond Kevin Cross.’ And they rushed in and I didn’t know what to say, ‘yeah, that’s me.’ And they said, ‘you have the right to remain silent.’ I find myself with handcuffs on in the back of a squad car.”
Kevin had embezzled thousands of dollars from his previous employer, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. He was working in the civil division at the time. And the civil division handles a lot of money. Kevin didn’t make much working as an accountant for the county. So he and a friend came up with a scheme to make money.
“My friend turned to me and said, ‘what can we do?’ I said, ‘well, you know what, I am in charge of this stale money, money that has been put up as a deposit on evictions and things of that nature, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars.’ My friend was working at a bank at that time and he said, ‘What if we wrote a few checks to the rightful owner and I gave them to him?’”
Kevin cut the checks and the friend cashed them. The plan went on without a hitch for months, and they were making thousands of dollars. But while drinking at a bar, he shared his scheme with the wrong people They were with the mafia.
“They said, ‘well, nobody does work in this town without letting us know. We want $50,000 and $5,000 a month.’ At that point I realized I was in way over my head.”
In a panic, Kevin got the $50,000 together and gave it to the mob. He realized their scheme was over. He could never work with the mafia
“I had an opportunity at that point to go to the sheriff and I thought, ‘you know, I could.’ And I thought, ‘no, because I’m going to have to admit that I was cheating and stealing.’”
Eventually, Kevin left the Sherriff’s Office and prepared for law school. The mob left Kevin alone and he thought he could leave his past behind. Eventually a paper trail uncovered the crime and Kevin was arrested.
“I said, ‘look, I worked for the sheriff. You’ve got to put me in solitary confinement because, well, guy, I’m not like the rest of these scums. I’m a good guy. I’m, as a matter of fact, I shouldn’t even be here.’ And they chuckled and they said, ‘we have a special place in solitary confinement for you.’ They said, ‘this is Bernard, he’s your new uh, roommate.’ Little did I know that Bernard was on a crime spree and murdered three people in a Wendy’s restaurant. And that very day on February 10th, 1988, he was sentenced to a triple death sentence.”
“And as they led me into this jail cell they said, ‘this is what we call jailhouse justice. Enjoy it.’ My roommate had his head in his hands. I decided at that point, I wasn’t getting out; and they locked the door.”
Kevin noticed some paper lying on the cell floor.
“I opened it up and it was psalm 51. And I started reading how David had sinned against Bathsheba and killed her husband so he could have her. And how the prophet Nathan went to him and said, ‘you are that guy.’ And he came clean. And at that point I realized that I needed to come clean. And so I just bowed my head I said, ‘God, I am sorry. I’ve messed up my life.’ And at that point it was clear. I’d squandered what god had given to me. 19 years old, I had done more damage than most people do in a lifetime. "
After his prayer, Kevin and his cell mate began talking.
“For eight days we were in there and after awhile we did speak and we talked about eternal things. We talked about how our lives were fragile and we may not make it out. Well, he had more reason to believe that than I did. But life, as I knew it, ceased to exist. But after my prayer, my life finally began.”
Through a plea bargain, Kevin only spent 90 days in jail. He was let out with 15 years probation. The felony conviction got him kicked out of law school, and he had to pay back the money he embezzled.
“Unfortunately the reality after I had liquidated everything I had, I still owed $100,000."
He found work as a valet. One day as he parked a car, he heard a man speaking on a Christian radio station.
“He said, ‘some people out there have been mishandling what god has given to them for years. Even squandered, even embezzling,’ and I realized, it’s like he was talking to me. He says, ‘if you have sorrow in the area of finances, you’re not doing it God’s way.’ And I cried and I gave this area of my heart to the Lord."
Kevin eventually started a small business. He has since paid back all the money he stole.
“He allowed me to pay off all of the $100,000 doing it God’s way, doing money God’s way, not my way. There were so many wake-up calls that God had given me where I saw that he had his hands on me. And with the mafia, they could have easily said, ‘look, we’re going to take this guy out. He’s a nobody.’ And God was so good. And I look back now and say, ‘look God, you had a purpose for my life, and I will not squander it any longer.’”
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