Former Edmond church worker accused of theft

Chalea B. Crow, of Edmond, is accused of embezzling money from Highland Park Baptist Church when she worked between January 2011 and March.
BY TIM WILLERT twillert@opubco.com Published: May 3, 2012

— A former church employee accused of stealing nearly $18,000 was charged Wednesday with nine counts of embezzlement, Oklahoma County District Court records show.

Chalea B. Crow, 37, of Edmond, is accused of embezzling $17,883 from Highland Park Baptist Church between January 2011 and this past March, a probable cause affidavit filed with the charges shows.

Crow was suspected of embezzling nearly $20,000 from the church, but she returned $1,960 in cash from a March bank transaction on the same day last month she confessed her crimes to the church pastor, Edmond police reported.

In most instances, Crow withdrew money from the church's checking and savings accounts, purchased cashier's checks for part of the amount and pocketed the rest, the affidavit shows.

On two occasions, Crow wrote a church check for a donation then purchased a cashier's check for part of the amount to donate and pocketed the rest, police reported.

In November, Crow withdrew $3,926.10 from the church savings account and transferred $2,552.07 to the church checking account. She purchased a money order made out to “Dell 401(k) Plan” for $248.43, and kept the balance of $1,125, the affidavit shows. She listed her husband on the memo line of the cashier's check with the words “Ashley M. Crow 401(k) payoff,” police reported.

Crow told police she “didn't deny taking out the money,” and acknowledged that the signatures on checks and bank slips were hers. A few hours after police spoke to Crow, Pastor Joe Rhodes told police Crow confessed taking the money for personal use, including to pay bills, according to the affidavit.


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