Plymouth woman pleads guilty to stealing from church

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Plymouth woman has pleaded guilty to stealing from a North Minneapolis church where she was a worship leader, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Sherrie Lynn Jones, 48, pleaded guilty to one count of theft by swindle Tuesday and will be sentenced April 14. She is expected to receive a stay of imposition but three years of probation and 120 days on electronic home monitoring. She is also expected to be ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $9,500.

According to the criminal complaint, officers responded to a call on April 17, 2015 from the Executive Director of Operations at Sanctuary Covenant Church. He reported that auditors conducting an internal investigation discovered that Jones had deposited or cashed 50 checks from the church that were endorsed and paid to her.

Jones was in charge of paying guest musicians who performed at the church. The pastor would receive check requests from her. He would produce them and leave the checks in her mail box or drop them off at her home. Then Jones was supposed to pay the musicians on Sundays after they performed.  Instead, Jones would endorse the checks to herself without the musicians’ permission and deposit the checks in her bank account, thus keeping funds that did not belong to her.

Officers interviewed various individuals and they were shown checks made out to them and endorsed by them.  These individuals reported never seeing, endorsing or giving Jones permission to endorse those checks to herself.