Church treasurer/County employee arrested on theft charges

Published: Jul. 14, 2010 at 9:28 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2010 at 3:05 PM EDT
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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  An Albany church treasurer is facing 27 counts of theft and fraud after stealing thousands from a small south Albany church.

Yolanda Pope, also an employee of Dougherty County, was arrested Monday. Right now she's taken annual leave from her county job and is out of jail on bond.

This isn't the first time the New Macedonia Baptist Church has fallen victim to theft. You may remember more than two years ago Jeryl Boles stole more than 30 thousand dollars from the church. Now the former pastors daughter is accused of doing the same thing.

The New Macedonia Baptist Church was locked Wednesday, no one inside. Their former treasurer was jailed Monday charged with stealing thousands.

"The deacons at the church actually came forward representing the church saying they thought there may have been some misuse of funds," said GBI-Sylvester Agent Matt Marchant.

That was after this woman, Yolanda Pope, was relieved of her duties and left the church. Investigators say 21 different times Pope used the church's ATM card to take money from their one account, as much as seven thousand dollars.

"It wasn't all at once. It was over a period of time," said Marchant.

Investigators believe the thefts happened between 2007 and 2009. Pope is also a Dougherty County employee. She doesn't handle any money for the county, but serves as the Human Resource Administrator administering life and health insurance for county employees. Church deacons didn't want to talk with us on camera and say while it was a tough decision to go to investigators, the church needs the money back. They're not alone a lot of businesses are victims to this kind of theft.

"I've certainly heard of other issues with business and corporation, both small and big and personally owned companies where things like this unfortunately happen and take place," said Marchant. Investigators say Pope's arrest may not be the end of the investigation. The case remains active and there could be more arrests. @

Both Dougherty County's Human Resource manager and County Administrator are reviewing the county's policy to determine what will happen with Pope employee status. They wouldn't say how long she could remain on her paid annual leave, which uses up time off she's accrued as a county employee.

Yolanda Pope is charged with six counts of theft by receiving and 21 counts of financial transaction card theft.

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