Church treasurer, 80, gets prison time for stealing $515,000


MARIETTA, Ohio (AP) — An 80-year-old woman has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for stealing more than a half-million dollars from the Ohio church where she had been treasurer for decades.

Betty Wheaton, of Belpre, briefly apologized in court before she was sentenced Monday. She didn’t offer an explanation and told a Washington County judge she doesn’t know what happened to the money.

Wheaton had pleaded guilty to aggravated theft, a felony. Washington County prosecutors say she admitted stealing $515,000 from Bethel Lighthouse Baptist Church in Marietta since 2011, plus additional, unknown amounts dating to the late 1990s.

She was ordered to pay restitution for the known amount.

Bethel Lighthouse pastor Kevin Gutberlet also spoke before the sentencing, telling the court that Wheaton betrayed his congregation.

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