Santa Rosa church embezzler sentenced to six years in prison

| May 10, 2012

A Guerneville woman who embezzled $712,000 from the Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison and ordered to repay all of the money.

Eleanor Zapanta, 51, took the money from 2004 to 2010 while she was business manager for the Occidental Road church.

In a statement read in court by prosecutor Bill Brockley, the church’s leadership excoriated Zapanta for exploiting her position of trust while presenting herself as a “student of spirituality.”

“She was in fact cold-heartedly using her position to calculate the maximum taking without regard of the well-being of the people affected,” the statement said.

As a result of her theft, church employees were laid off and a financial assistance program for church families was discontinued, the statement went on to say.

Zapanta did not speak at the sentencing. Her lawyer, Richard Scott, said she was remorseful.

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Category: Church Security

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