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Texas church lady sentenced to 7 years in prison for stealing over $667K from accounts

San Antonio, Church Theft
Screengrab: KSAT

A Texas woman was sentenced tosevenyears in prison after being convicted of stealing over $667,000 from a church. The stolen money was used to pay for a trip to Hawaii, shopping sprees and other expenses, according to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.

Lavelle Wilson Ruvader pleaded guilty on Feb. 4 to stealing $667,542 from Creations Christian Fellowship Church in San Antonio between Jan. 6, 2014, and Sept. 12, 2019, to pay for meals, personal loans, and other expenses. She's now in the Bexar County Jail awaiting a transfer to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division.

Ruvader had worked for the church for over 30 years and last served as the executive assistant to New Creation Bishop David Copeland and was in charge of two of the church’s bank accounts. She had no previous criminal record. 

“Members give to their church with the best of intentions. In this case, the money that was meant to be used by the church was instead funding this defendant’s lifestyle," said Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales in a statement on Wednesday.

The theft was discovered in 2019 after the church's executive committee asked Ruvader to hand over the church's financial statements from Ruvader to conduct a review of expense reports. At the time, Ruvader refused to provide access to any of the church’s financial documents, thedistrict attorney's office said.

Following her refusal, the committee requested the financial statements from the bank. 

"New Creation Christian Fellowship trusted this defendant to help them do some good for our community," Gonzalez added. "Her violation of that trust hurt this community. Now that she has accepted responsibility for her crime, I know the church and its members can focus on their faith and service to our community.”

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