In San Antonio today, a federal judge sentenced 52-year-old Stacey A. Sanders, the former office manager of Memorial Presbyterian Church, located in Fredericksburg, TX, to 27 months imprisonment in connection with a scheme to write and sign unauthorized checks on the church’s bank accounts, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez ordered Sanders to pay a total of $420,306.69 in restitution, $20,219.43 to Security State Bank and $400,087.26 to Memorial Presbyterian Church. Judge Rodriguez also ordered that Sanders be placed on supervised release for a period of five years after completing her prison term. Judge Rodriguez allowed Sanders to remain on bond pending notification from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons regarding the date and location to report in order to begin serving her prison term, to be no later than May 31, 2019.
On March 22, 2018, Sanders pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. By pleading guilty, Sanders admitted that without authorization she moved large sums of money from the church’s trust account to its operating account on numerous occasions by writing forged checks on the trust account and depositing them in the operating account. In so doing, Defendant eventually depleted the trust account as its balance went from $194,439.23 in 2009 to $178 by December 2016. Defendant then wrote herself numerous, unauthorized, forged checks from the operating account from the latter part of 2009 to December 2016. To conceal her activity, Defendant wrote various false statements on the checks’ memo line, such as “social security offset,” “additional payroll,” or “cleaning supplies.”
“It’s hard to believe that this has to be said, but stealing from houses of worship is really, really wrong. When you defraud a bank to do it, it can become a federal case,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.
Special Agents of the FBI investigated this case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William R. Harris on behalf of the Government.