Former treasurer admits stealing more than $100,000 from church

| October 14, 2010

The former treasurer of an Allentown church has admitted stealing more than $100,000 from the place of worship over seven years.

Alice M. Miller, 44, of Allentown pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony theft charge.

Under her deal, Miller's minimum sentence will be nine to 16 months in jail, said Lehigh County First Assistant District Attorney Steven Luksa. Miller's maximum sentence could be as long as seven years, Luksa said.

Miller stole between $106,000 and $112,000 from 2002 to 2009 while serving as treasurer of the Zion Evangelical Congregation Church, Luksa said.

According to authorities:

Because Miller was siphoning the church's money, she neglected to pay some of the church's bills and some went to collection agencies.

The thefts went unnoticed until a new pastor, the Rev. Gary J. Morrell, took over in 2009 and found irregularities in the accounts.

Morrell hired an accounting firm to audit the accounts and discovered Miller was writing checks to herself and had obtained an unauthorized debit card from one of the accounts that she used to pay her personal expenses.

Miller also wrote checks out to her husband, signed them and placed them into a joint account. Luksa said the husband was never charged because there's no evidence he knew of Miller's actions or participated.

Miller is scheduled to be sentenced next month by Judge Maria L. Dantos.

Miller has been free under $75,000 unsecured bail since her April 28 arrest, according to court documents.

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Category: Church Security

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