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The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Thursday, March 19, 2009, 12:01 a.m.

Arlington church theft blamed on devil

A woman who allegedly defrauded an Arlington church of more than $73,000 said Satan was involved.

ARLINGTON -- She said the devil made her do it.
An Arlington woman, 62, told detectives evil was at work when she allegedly forged more than $73,000 worth of checks to herself from the church where she was an administrative assistant.
The woman "guessed that Satan had a big part in the theft," Snohomish County deputy prosecuting attorney Kathy Jo Blake wrote in charging papers filed Wednesday in Snohomish County Superior Court.
The woman worked for the Arlington Free Methodist Church from early 2000 until Feb. 2008 when she was fired, the court papers said.
On June 6, the woman left a teary message for an Arlington police detective admitting she had stolen money from her former employer. During an investigation, police learned that from Jan. 2005 until the end of Feb. 2008, the woman wrote 80 checks worth $73,575.18, the papers said. She allegedly forged the pastor's signature.
The finance chairman of the church had noticed irregularities with the checks and alerted the pastor. Church elders had been reviewing the matter when police contacted the pastor.
The woman told detectives she used the money to cover household expenses. She said she couldn't stand the thought of losing her home, the documents said.
Detectives said the woman seemed relieved the theft was disclosed and she appeared remorseful. She told police she was ready to face the consequences for her actions, the documents said.
The woman tried to enroll in a court program to pay restitution and avoid charges. But the amount she owed far exceeded what she would be capable of paying back in the short amount of time allowed, Blake wrote.
On Wednesday, the woman was charged with first-degree theft, a felony.

Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437, jholtz@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » ArlingtonPolice

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