Photo credits: The Tampa Bay Times
Reverend Henry J. Lyons was formerly the president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Federal prosecutors indicted Lyons in the late 19901 on 54 criminal charges.
In February 1998, he was charged with one crime of racketeering and two counts of grand theft, which was the first time he was accused. By the summer of 1998, he was indicted by federal authorities on allegations of fraud, extortion, money laundering, conspiracy, and tax evasion, among other things. He first asserted his innocence, claiming that the charges were prompted by racial animus on the part of U.S. government authorities.
The criminal trial of Rev. Henry Lyons began on January 25, 1999. Jurors convicted him guilty of the charges against him later that year, at the end of his trial. The conviction, on the other hand, dampened the enthusiasm of those who defended his innocence. Lyons was sentenced to a total of five and a half years in jail for robbing the National Baptist Convention of more than $4 million while serving as President, a post he had resigned from earlier in the year.
In November 2003, Lyons completed his probation and was able to continue ministering in St Petersburg, Florida.
He formerly served as the pastor of the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida. According to the church’s board of trustees, Lyons was fired from his position on June 15, 2017, after charges of misappropriation and inappropriate conduct. Lyons failed to win his bid for President of the Florida General Baptist Convention after losing an April 2007 election. Later, Lyons and his supporters established the General Baptist State Convention of Florida, an organization he presided over.
In 2009, he was unsuccessful in his most recent bid for the presidency of the National Baptist Convention of the United States of America.