Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pastor, wife embezzlement case delayed in California

A couple accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the Hilltop Apostolic Church in Clearlake had their separate preliminary hearings continued Wednesday.

A judge continued Bruce and Shannell Stark's hearings to Sept. 18 for reasons including medical issues with Bruce and new findings by the prosecution related to the amount of money the couple allegedly stole, Deputy District Attorney Sharon Lerman-Hubert said.

Bruce Stark was arrested in March and Shannell voluntarily reported to the Lake County Courthouse on June 11. They were both charged with one felony count of grand theft and of special allegation of the theft being more than $50,000.

The couple allegedly stole cash and property from the church during the time Bruce worked there as a pastor between 2002 and 2007, authorities said. Shanell Stark reportedly held a secretarial position at the time.

The Starks pleaded not guilty to their charges and are awaiting court ruling on whether there is enough evidence to go to trial. The couple remains out of custody and resides in Stockton.

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