A former treasurer at a Lehigh Valley church is expected to turn herself in Thursday morning after police say she stole over $300,000 from the congregation.
Ann Marie Ballentine, 51, of Palmer Township, is accused of stealing $317,937 from the First Presbyterian Church of Easton, located on Spring Garden Street.
Current treasurer Charlie Young told Lehigh Valley Live that Ballentine served as the treasurer for the church for a decade before resigning last November.
Officials at the church told police they found a discrepancy in their financial records around three months ago. Lehigh Valley Live reports that court records indicate Ballentine had been stealing money at the church since at least June of 2006.
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Church officials claim Ballentine admitted to taking the money to help pay for her bills when they confronted her last November.
Ballentine allegedly admitted once again to stealing the money in order to pay her bills when she spoke with Easton Police back on January 16.
Despite the allegations against Ballentine, Young told Lehigh Valley Live that the church’s congregation of about 160 would not turn her away if she ever chose to come back and that she’s still considered a member of the church.
Police issued an arrest warrant for Ballentine on charges of theft, theft by failure to deposit funds and receiving stolen property. She is expected to surrender to officials Thursday morning for a preliminary arraignment.