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Church Admin Faces Prison: $360K from Food Pantry, Youth Ministry, Congregation Stolen

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It’s a special sort of betrayal when the people who are supposed to be taking care of others use their position to extort. It destroys trust, breeds contempt and only feeds anxiety.

And when it happens in a Christian setting, it’s even worse, twisting the image of Christ and spurring doubt in both believers and unbelievers.

The most we can do this side of eternity is hope for some sort of earthly justice and for the truth to be out. That’s starting to take place as an investigation continues into a case where a church administrator seems to have used her position for personal gain — apparently around $360,000 worth of gain.

Chanell Easton, now living in Oklahoma City, held the administrator title at a church in Yuba City, California, from June 2013 to February 2018, according to KTXL-TV. (The church was not named in the report.)

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During those five years, Easton reportedly opened five business credit cards in the church’s name without notifying anyone and used them for personal shopping, grooming, entertainment and travel expenses.

When the bills started to stack up, Easton allegedly paid both the business cards and her personal cards with church money.

Easton also allegedly wrote checks to herself, pulling from church funds.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the region, Easton is estimated to have taken about $360,000 from the church, dipping into funds for both the youth ministry and food pantry as well as forging the signatures of both the church treasurer and the head of the food pantry.

To add insult to injury, not only has Easton appeared to have swindled God’s people, but she’s also married to former Marysville Police Chief Aaron Easton of California, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The police chief resigned from his position in 2017 amidst news of a sexual assault investigation involving an incident in 2008, according to KXTV. (The charges against him were eventually dropped.)

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On May 19, Chanell Easton was charged with 22 counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identify theft, according to the release.

“If convicted, Easton faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of wire fraud, and a mandatory two-year sentence on each count of aggravated identity theft.”

“Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.”

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