Church Employee Sentenced to Jail for Stealing $450K from Congregation

  Lisa Stabeno(Image: Everything Lubbock)

U.S District Judge, James Hendrix, has sentenced a 52-year-old woman from Lubbock, Texas, for using more than $450,000 from church funds for personal expenses. Lisa Stabeno was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in federal prison as part of a plea deal. This was revealed by Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Chad E. Meacham, in a statement.

The Department of Justice described her actions as “brazen thefts” from Church on the Rock. She was also ordered to pay $450,000 in restitution in addition to jail term. 

Stabeno worked as an accounts manager for Church on the Rock’s “Dream Center,” an outreach program for “underserved individuals.” In May, she had pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud.

In the plea papers, she confessed that she started stealing from the church in November 2013. That was four months after resuming accounting responsibilities. After her judgment, Stabeno apologized for her crime.

Everything Lubbock reported that after Stabeno’s apology, Judge Hendrix told her, “Talk is very cheap at this point. You were trusted with accounts and misappropriated funds…You did it again, and again and again.” 

The site also explained how Stabeno carried out her acts of stealing from the church. 

“She began by using two credit cards — one assigned to a church employee and one assigned to a pastor — to pay personal expenses, including a car loan she co-financed with her daughter, medical and dental expenses, clothing, salon services, and restaurant meals. She also used the credit cards to purchase supplies for a bakery she co-owned with her daughters.”

According to court documents, she made 128 unauthorized online transfers.

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