Church Embezzler Admits Stealing More Than $200,000

| March 17, 2010

Newport Beach – A 38-year-old Ladera Ranch woman today pleaded guilty to stealing more than $200,000 from Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo while she worked there.

Crystina Renee Bock faces five years in state prison as part of a plea deal she negotiated with Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche.

She could have faced a maximum of 45 years and eight months in prison if convicted at trial, but the average sentence for a theft in the $200,000 range with an early plea is usually about two years in state prison, Labreche said.

Bock pleaded guilty at a preliminary hearing. But if the case went to trial, Labreche planned to show that she had embezzled from prior employers. She was not charged with those alleged thefts, because the statute of limitations had run out, Labreche said.

"Five years is a pretty hefty sentence for the amount of money she stole," Labreche said.

As part of the plea deal, Bock also agreed to pay back $200,000 to Compass Bible Church, but it's unlikely she will be able to make restitution, Labreche said.

Bock apparently spent all of the money she stole on "lifestyle enhancement" such as expensive purses, but has nothing to show for it, Labreche said.

The motivation for the stealing was "straight greed," he said.

Bock pleaded guilty to 62 felony counts of grand theft with sentencing enhancements and allegations for aggravated white-collar crime exceeding $100,000 and losses more than $100,000.

Bock started working part time as the church's financial secretary June 1, 2005. Her job involved helping with the accounting of church offerings and payments made to the church by its congregation, Labreche said. Bock's job included preparing the church's deposits, updating the electronic financial records and sending contribution statements to the church's followers that documented their donations for tax reasons, Labreche said.

Bock deposited about 440 donations from church members into her own personal bank account between June 2005 and September 2008, Labreche said.

She wrote her personal account number on the back of the church's checks before depositing them and she doctored the church's financial records to hide the stealing, Labreche said.

The stealing was discovered in September 2008 when financial supervisors at the church found out a $1,000 donation had been cashed but was not deposited in the church's credit union, Labreche said.

The church recovered just less than half of the money stolen in a civil suit against the credit union, Labreche said.

Bock's attorney, Bob Bernstein, declined comment.

"We'll save what we have to say for sentencing," Bernstein said.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 7.

 

http://www.myfoxla.com/dpp/news/local/church-embezzler-admits-stealing-more-than-%24200%2C000

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Category: Church Security

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