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Volunteer charged with stealing $500k from her New Jersey church

Volunteer secretary is charged with stealing $500k from her church to pay for car loans, satellite TV, cell phone bills and even her WEDDING

  • Taisha Smith-DeJoseph, 43, was charged on Tuesday with embezzling the funds from St Paul’s Baptist Church in New Jersey
  • Investigators discovered that Smith-DeJoseph allegedly stole $561,000 from the church over a span of five years and filed false tax returns to hide it
  • Smith-DeJoseph was in charge of overseeing the church’s finances
  • She is accused of opening electronic bank accounts for St Paul’s and then using the funds for her own personal expenses
  • She used the money to pay car loans, rent, credit card expenses, satellite TV and cellphone bills, as well as make thousands of online purchases
  • Smith-DeJoseph also used the stolen funds to pay for her own wedding at a local New Jersey venue 

Taisha Smith-DeJoseph, 43, was charged on Tuesday with embezzling the funds from St Paul’s Baptist Church in Willingboro where she worked as their volunteer financial secretary

A volunteer secretary has been charged with stealing more than $500,000 from a New Jersey church to pay her car loans, cell phone bills and even her own wedding. 

Taisha Smith-DeJoseph, 43, was charged on Tuesday with embezzling the funds from St Paul’s Baptist Church in Willingboro where she worked as their volunteer financial secretary. 

Authorities started investigating after the church reported that someone was stealing from them. 

Investigators discovered that Smith-DeJoseph had allegedly stolen $561,000 from the church over a span of five years. 

Smith-DeJoseph, who was in charge of overseeing the church’s finances, is accused of opening electronic bank accounts for St Paul’s and then using the funds for her own personal expenses. 

Prosecutors say she used the money to pay her car loans, rent, credit card expenses, satellite TV and cellphone bills. 

She allegedly made thousands of online transactions, including 2,719 PayPal purchases that added up to $250,000 and 805 Amazon buys that totaled about $22,000. 

Smith-DeJoseph also used the stolen funds to pay for her own wedding at a local New Jersey venue.

Smith-DeJoseph was in charge of overseeing St Paul's Baptist Church's finances. She is accused of opening electronic bank accounts for St Paul's and then using the funds for her own personal expenses

Smith-DeJoseph was in charge of overseeing St Paul’s Baptist Church’s finances. She is accused of opening electronic bank accounts for St Paul’s and then using the funds for her own personal expenses

Authorities started investigating after the church (pictured above) reported that someone was stealing from them

Authorities started investigating after the church (pictured above) reported that someone was stealing from them

In addition to the spending, prosecutors say Smith-DeJoseph also issued payroll and supplied reimbursement checks to herself from St. Paul’s bank accounts.

She fabricated monthly statements to hide the church’s true financial state, according to authorities. 

In a bid to hide the embezzlement from the government, Smith-DeJoseph failed to file income tax returns and didn’t pay the appropriate amount of taxes in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. 

Authorities say she filed a fraudulent tax return in 2017. 

She was charged with theft by deception, computer criminal activity, miapplication of entrusted property, failure to file personal income tax, failure to pay income tax and filing a fraudulent income tax return. 

The church’s pastor, Fred Jackson, told WPVI that new policies have already been put in place to avoid something like this happening again.

‘We put our trust in other people as well as in God and sometimes that trust is misplaced… it is very hurtful for the entire congregation,’ Jackson said. 

‘Most of the church knows about what was going on. Thankfully the contributions have not decreased.’ 

The church's pastor, Fred Jackson, said that new policies have already been put in place to avoid something like this happening again

The church’s pastor, Fred Jackson, said that new policies have already been put in place to avoid something like this happening again

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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