Two Forsyth County women pleaded guilty on Friday to unrelated embezzlement cases involving two local churches, authorities said.
Leah Whitehart Dunbar, a former records secretary and associate business manager at Gospel Light Baptist Church, pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining property under false pretences, the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office said.
As part of a plea deal, Forsyth District Court Judge Lawrence Fine placed Dunbar on supervised probation for a year and ordered him to perform 20 hours of community service, the office said. district attorney.
Dunbar paid $120,000 in restitution to Gospel Light, and she agreed to turn over her retirement account to the church as part of her restitution, the office said.
The church is located at 890 Walkertown Guthrie Road in northeast Forsyth County.
On Dec. 10, 2020, Gospel Light officials contacted the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office regarding possible embezzlement, the district attorney’s office said.
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An audit of the parish school’s American Express credit card accounts showed Dunbar used the credit cards for personal expenses from Nov. 3, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2020, the district attorney’s office said.
Detective Karen Lang interviewed Dunbar who made statements regarding the use of the cards, the district attorney’s office said. Lang also learned that Dunbar’s many personal expenses were paid for with church credit cards.
In the other, unrelated case, Marilyn Veronica Bertelsen, former finance director of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, pleaded guilty to three counts of obtaining property under false pretences, the report said. district attorney’s office in the press release.
As part of a plea deal, Fine placed Bertelsen on unsupervised probation for a year and ordered him to perform 24 hours of community service, the district attorney’s office said.
Bertelsen, 61, was charged June 10 with fraudulently obtaining $27,930 from St. Leo while working there between 2018 and 2020, Winston-Salem police said.
The church is located at 335 Springdale Ave. in Winston-Salem.
Bertelsen is accused of obtaining tuition reimbursement money – and, on the one hand, materials – for courses at Johnson & Wales University that she never took, police said. .
She took the money three times: the first on February 15, 2018, when she got $4,568, then from August 20 to December 13, 2019, when she got $19,800.27, and the third times on March 17, 2020 when she got $3,561.76, according to the warrants.
Bertelsen resigned in November 2020, according to a spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.
Winston-Salem Police Department Detective Mark Barker testified at Bertelsen’s court hearing on Friday that bank records show no payments from Bertelsen to Johnson & Wales University, the district attorney’s office said. .
Bertelsen has repaid the money she is accused of taking, the district attorney’s office said.