Former Alabama church secretary pleads guilty to embezzling $209K

Article by: Michael Gryboski, Mainline Church Editor

The former financial secretary of an Alabama congregation has confessed to embezzling approximately $209,000 from the church over the course of several years.

Sharon Collins, who worked at First Baptist Church of Foley from 2007 to 2019, admitted in a recent plea agreement that she stole $209,745 via multiple church credit cards.

Collins admitted to using cards issued in both her name and the names of coworkers to steal the money and use it for expenses, satellite TV bills, plane trips and even a college degree, reported local media outlet WALA.

U.S. District Judge Terry Moorer read out the 12 counts of wire fraud to Collins on Wednesday, with Collins pleading guilty to them all. Sentencing is scheduled for November.

“I imagine, for you, this is embarrassing,” Moorer told Collins, as quoted by WALA. “Even if you find this embarrassing, it’s not the worst thing in the world someone has ever done, and you can live this down.”

Although the plea agreement will result in the government dropping 20 other identity theft and wire fraud charges, Collins could still face up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the Mobile-based NBC 15 News.

The college degree she used church funds to pay for was a bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminal justice at Troy University.

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