Sunday, January 12, 2014

Woman pleads guilty of taking church money in Oklahoma

A woman accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the Stillwater First United Methodist Church has pleaded guilty to the theft of more than $141,000 from the church.

Dana Sue Eckhart pleaded guilty to embezzlement in excess of $25,000 on Jan. 3 at the Payne County Courthouse.

The 43-year-old former church financial manager was arrested in May. Starting in 2009, Eckhart embezzled more than $141,000 from the church by writing unauthorized checks and using the church’s credit card.

An audit of the church’s finances found that Eckhart wrote 33 checks to her or her husband, 17 checks to other people and 46 checks to a bank that the church didn’t have an account with.

Eckhart made more than $60,000 of checks payable to herself and $9,000 to her husband. Bank checks totaled more than $67,000.

In her plea Eckhart states, “I used money that belonged to the church which I had access to in an unauthorized manner,” according to the court documents.

Associate District Judge Stephen Kistler ordered a pre-sentence investigation until Eckhart is sentenced at 1:30 p.m. April 4. She is free on a personal bond until the sentencing. -

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