Fiatala Manu Accused of Gambling Away Most of the $110k He Allegedly Stole from Church
The interim treasurer for an Orange County church allegedly embezzled more than $110,000 and gambled away most of it.
Fiatala Manu is accused by prosecutors of stealing the money from Santa Ana's First Samoan Christian Congregational Church, which was saving funds for a new church building.
The thefts began from church bank accounts in October 2011 and continued over the next 10 months, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office, which accuses Manu or writing checks to himself and making withdrawals instead of paying the small church's bills.
The alleged thefts were discovered by an assistant treasurer who noticed the money missing while checking the books.
Prosecutors believe the 46-year-old blew most of the church money at Indian gaming casinos. He could be playing craps up against prison walls for nearly 12 years with a conviction.
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