HOUSTON (BP) — A former pastoral staff member at Houston’s First Baptist Church has admitted to embezzling more than $800,000 from the congregation, according to media reports.
Jerrell Altic, 40, was indicted Dec. 10 for first degree felony theft of more than $800,000 from 2011-17, Houston’s First said in a statement by pastor Gregg Matte and deacon chairman Craig Bloodworth. Altic surrendered to law enforcement today (Dec. 11) and has “admitted fully to the offense,” his attorney James Alston said according to The Houston Chronicle.
Altic is “working with the church, he’s trying to make amends for everything that he possibly can,” Alston said, adding, “He feels horrible for what has happened and the pain that it’s caused everyone at the church, and his family members and friends. He would want me to tell everyone that he’s sorry.”
Alston declined to say how the money was stolen or whether it was spent.
Dane Schiller, a spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, told Baptist Press Altic allegedly used his church credit card to make “lavish” purchases and secure cash advances.
Houston’s First said it discovered “a limited set of suspicious financial activity” in November 2017 and approached Altic about it. “He immediately tendered his resignation,” and the church reported the matter to law enforcement in addition to launching its own “thorough investigation.”
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Source: Baptist Press