VISALIA, Calif. – A former bookkeeper is facing charges of stealing at least $2.1 million from the California church where she worked for 13 years.
The Fresno Bee reports that Sandra Arreola, of Palm Desert, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of embezzlement and money laundering. Arreola turned herself in on Thursday morning following a two-year audit by the Visalia First Assembly of God church and an investigation by local police.
Visalia police Detective Kevin Kroeze told the Visalia Times-Delta that the 51-year-old Arreola is suspected of spending cash collected from tithes and offerings on properties, bills, vacations and clothing. She is being held on $1 million bail.
The church where she worked is one of Visalia's largest, drawing about 3,500 people to weekend services.