FLORENCE TOWNSHIP, N.J. - A financial secretary has been charged with stealing more than $561,000 from a Burlington County church.
Taisha Smith-DeJoseph, 43, of Willingboro, served as a volunteer at Saint Paul’s Baptist Church in Florence Township.
An investigation began after church officials, who suspected the theft, contacted the prosecutor's office financial crimes unit.
Officials said Smith-DeJoseph opened online bank accounts and used the funds for personal expenses over a five-year period.
Smith-DeJoseph also allegedly issued reimbursement checks to herself from St. Paul’s bank accounts and fabricated monthly statements to hide the church’s true financial state.
Investigators said that Smith-DeJoseph used the money to pay her car loans, rent, credit card expenses and to pay for her wedding at a Burlington County venue.
In an attempt to cover up the embezzlement scheme, according to prosecutors, Smith-DeJoseph failed to file income tax returns for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018.
Smith-DeJoseph was charged with second-degree theft by deception and related offenses. Her case will be prepared for presentation to a Burlington County Grand Jury for possible indictment.
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