Lehigh Valley

Woman stole cash from L.C. Conference of Churches

Sheri Denise Lopez of Wind Gap took more than $95,000

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Forty-three-year-old Sheri Denise Lopez of Wind Gap has been arrested for stealing more than $95,000 from the Lehigh County Conference of Churches.

According to the criminal complaint, Lopez issued checks to herself  from accounts set up by the conference of churches to help people manage their finances.

She has been charged with theft by deception and receiving stolen property.

The thefts began in July 2011, according to court documents.

The investigation began Jan. 13, when Thomas Smith, operations director at the conference of churches, filed a theft report with the Allentown Police Department.

That report alleged Lopez had stolen funds from a National Penn Bank account belonging to the conference.

The conference established that account to help its clients manage their finances, by issuing checks or cash for debts, spending money or miscellaneous expenses.

All the checks were written "pay to the order of Sheri Lopez." They contained only Lopez's signature and lacked a second authorizing signature as required by the organization.

During an interview on Feb. 4, Lopez admitted to police that she had written the checks without authorization and cashed them.

On Feb. 17, Smith provided police with additional information showing Lopez had been doing that same thing with a conference of churches account at Wachovia/Wells Fargo Bank as far back as July 1, 2011.

The total amount of money taken was $95,092.

Lopez was arraigned on April 3.

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