Thursday, February 4, 2010

Compton, California pastor to be sentenced in grand theft

The former pastor of a Compton church pleaded no contest Tuesday to one count of grand theft after he was accused of diverting more than $800,000 in offerings from his congregation, authorities said.

Eugene Joshua Sims, 48, who was pastor of Double Rock Baptist Church, will be sentenced to a year in county jail and five months of probation, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.
Prosecutors are asking that Sims repay the more than $800,000 that he embezzled from church members while serving as their pastor, according to the district attorney's office.
Sims allegedly deposited the money in a private bank account and then threatened members not to say anything during sermons after questions were raised, the district attorney's office said.
Sims entered his plea in Compton Superior Court as his preliminary hearing was set to begin. In exchange for his plea, one felony count each of dissuading a witness and money laundering will be dropped when he is sentenced March 19, the district attorney's office said.
Sims was ordered to stay away from Double Rock church while he is on probation, but he can preach and perform services at other churches, according to the district attorney's office.

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