Woman admits to stealing $67,000 from local church alliance
A Central Texas woman turned herself in Wednesday after she admitted stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a local church alliance for which she served as treasurer.
The stolen money, contributed weekly by member churches, was intended to support a local food bank and to help residents with utility bills, medical expenses, school supplies rent and gasoline.
Some of the stolen money was donated to a fund created to pay for construction of a new food pantry.
"It's pretty devastating when someone could take this kind of money. This money comes from peoples’ tithes when they pay at church and when they put their tithes a percentage of that goes to this and the treasurer knew that," Whitney police Chief Christopher Bentley said Wednesday.
An arrest warrant charging theft over $30,000, but under $150,000 was issued for Pamela June Alberts, 54, in connection with the embezzlement of about $67,000 from the Whitney Ministerial Alliance.
She surrendered to authorities late Wednesday morning.
"She couldn't handle the guilt. She couldn't handle the pressure so eventually she decided to come clean," Albert’s attorney, Brian Walker, said.
The theft came to light after Alberts requested a meeting on July 10 with the organization’s senior board members to whom she submitted a letter of resignation in which she confessed that she had been stealing funds for her personal use since February 2017, an arrest warrant affidavit says.
When one of the board members asked her how much she had taken, she replied, “I think it’s about $67, 000,” the affidavit says.
At around 3 p.m. on July 10, the board members went to the 1st bank of Whitney and confirmed that Alberts “had been removing funds by writing checks to herself and making unauthorized wire transfers to her personal account,” the affidavit says.
A subsequent review of the group's finances revealed that the actual loss amounted to about $85,000 "due to unauthorized checks made payable to the suspect and unauthorized wire transfers," the affidavit says.
The president of the alliance filed a complaint with Whitney police on July 11.
Alberts has two prior misdemeanor theft by check convictions, both in 2003, and pleaded no contest in October 2003 to theft of property of more than $1,500, but less than $20,000, a state jail felony, according to online records.