Woman is arrested in theft of $200,000 from church

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Personal Injury News

Article Date: 9/25/2009 | Resource: MLG

Woman is arrested in theft of $200,000 from church

“Former employee of Aliso Viejo church, Chrystina Rene Bock, is alleged to have deposited donations in her personal account.”

A then-employee took donations meant for an Aliso Viejo church and siphoned the offerings into her own bank account, authorities said, stealing more than $200,000 from the church over an extended period.

Chrystina Rene Bock, a 37-year-old resident of Ladera Ranch, was arrested today on suspicion of grand theft, bringing to an end an investigation that started almost exactly one year ago.

Investigators with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department began investigating allegations of the theft on Sept. 26, 2008, when they were contacted by officials with Compass Bible Church, 140 Columbia, in Aliso Viejo. Officials found that more than $200,000 had been taken from the church and authorities began a lengthy investigation, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the department.

Authorities believe Bock, who had been employed at the church since June 2005, took donations meant for the church and instead deposited them into her personal bank account.

Bock took advantage of the similarity between her name’s initials, C.B., and the church’s to direct donations to her account, officials charge.

“When people made donations (with checks) she just told them, ‘Just make it out to C.B.,’ ” Amormino said.

Bock, whose responsibilities in the church included helping with donations made to the church, is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail, Amormino said.

Bock was let go from the church shortly after the discrepancy was discovered, Amormino said.

Authorities, however, continued to investigate the theft, Amornino said, by looking over bank records and deposits made into both Bock’s accounts.

“It takes a long time because I believe she deposited the checks in ATMs,” Amormino said.

Investigators are still looking into exactly how much money was taken from the church, and during what time period, he said.

The church had a prepared statement Thursday afternoon once news broke of the arrest.

“The leaders of Compass Bible Church continue to fully cooperate with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department regarding the investigation of our former bookkeeper regarding the suspected embezzlement of church funds. We are saddened by the events surrounding this matter. It is our hope that God will bring and equitable and godly resolve to these unfortunate circumstances…”

Rick Talcott, the church’s business administrator, said they informed church members of the suspected embezzlement a year ago.

Talcott said he could not discuss details on how Bock obtained church money as the incident is still under investigation.

Compass Bible Church is an independent bible-based church and has been in the Aliso Viejo location for the past two and a half years. Over the weekend Talcott said they had an estimated 2,500 attend services.

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Jeffrey Marquart