Two women accused of stealing funds from Fourth Street Baptist Church

| August 25, 2009

Two women have been indicted for six counts each of theft from Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church.

LaLinriafaye Wilson and Nikiena Rogers were indicted by a Muscogee County grand jury in December of theft by taking and were recently arraigned. Each count charges they took more than $500, according to court documents.

Rogers, a bookkeeper at the church who is also listed in documents as Nikiena Bowden, was picked up by authorities Aug. 19 in Russell County and extradited to Columbus on Aug. 20. She remained in the Muscogee County Jail on Monday.

Wilson, who did not work at Fourth Street, turned herself in to authorities in May and bonded out of jail.

According to the pastor, the Rev. J.H. Flakes, neither woman is a member of the church, which is 109 years old and has several thousand members. Flakes had no further comment but referred questions to the District Attorney’s office.

Both women have been arraigned, according to David Helmick with the DA’s office.

“They had a docket call (Monday) to have their cases set down for trial,” Helmick said.

Motions are scheduled for hearing at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Superior Court Judge Doug Pullen’s courtroom. Wilson’s attorney is Frank Martin. It’s not known who represents Rogers.

Martin said the FBI investigated the case and didn’t pursue it.

“It’s a very strange case,” Martin said. “(Wilson) was indicted last December and no one told her until May.” Martin said his client was interviewed for the FBI investigation.

The indictment charges the women took the proceeds from checks drawn on the church’s account at Columbus Bank & Trust from 2003-2005.

Wilson was driving the car that was hit by then-firefighter Zachary Allen on Nov. 28, 2006. Allen, son of Columbus Councilor Gary Allen, later tested positive for cocaine and resigned from the Columbus Fire Department.

Wilson threatened a $2 million lawsuit against the city and last fall was awarded $175,000.

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Category: Church Security

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