Want to Find Crime? Go to Church
Here's lookin' at ya!
Forget the barrios, Harbor Boulevard and potential marijuana fields of Cleveland National Forest. If Orange County law enforcement wants to find illegal activity, they should go to church.
Insert your favorite Catholic Diocese of Orange reference here.
Then, take a look at what's been going on at Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo and St. Joseph's Church in Placentia.
Better yet, if its St. Joseph, look for blood stains in the parking lot.
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First, over at Compass Bible Church, its former financial secretary was arrested and charged today with stealing more than $200,000 from the weekly offerings made by congregants to the church. Crystina Renee Bock, 34, Ladera Ranch, is charged with 62 felony counts of grand theft with sentencing enhancement and allegations for aggravated white collar crime exceeding $100,000 and losses over $100,000. She faces a maximum sentence of 45 years and eight months in state prison if convicted.
The Orange County District Attorney will request Bock's bail be set at $225,000 bail and that she prove the bail money came from a legal and legitimate source when she is arraigned Monday at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.
According to the prosecutors:
Beginning June 1, 2005, Bock worked part-time as CBC's financial secretary and assisted with accounting for offerings and payments made to CBC by congregants. Bock prepared the church's deposits each week, updated the electronic financial records, and sent contribution statements to the congregants documenting their donations for tax purposes.
Between June 2005 and September 2008, Bock is accused of taking over 440 congregants' donation checks and depositing them into her personal account. Bock is accused of writing her personal account number on the back of CBC checks before making the deposits. The defendant is also accused of altering the church's financial records to make the contribution statements reflect the congregants' contributions for that year.
In September 2008, the church's financial supervisors contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department after learning that a $1,000 donation check had been cashed but was not deposited into the CBC account, as recorded by Bock.
The DA also got a conviction today in Judge David Thompson's Santa Ana courtroom in the death of 89-year-old Jessie Pound, who screamed before her skull popped after Ana Maria Torres, 75, of Fullerton, ran it over on Aug. 26, 2007.
Torres was found guilty of one felony count of hit and run causing death, one misdemeanor count each of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act with gross negligence and providing false information to a police officer, and a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury. She faces up to four years in state prison at her Oct. 16 sentencing.
Torres was trying to leave the St. Joseph's parking lot in her white Mercury sedan the morning of the 26th, but as she approached the driveway to exit she failed to look for pedestrians and ran over Pound. Torres then kept right on driving, leaving the scene. Pound later died at Placentia-Linda Community Hospital.
When Placentia police investigators interviewed Torres, she falsely said she had attended an earlier mass that day and had walked home. But Pound's DNA was found on the underside of Torres' car.
When Torres testified in her defense, she said she did not hear or feel anything as she exited the parking lot. But a man who witnessed the grisly incident testified that he saw Torres behind the wheel as the Mercury raised and tilted as it was running over Pound. He said the left front tire ran over the victim's head, the left rear tire ran over her body, and the sound of the victim screaming and having her head crushed could be heard.
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