Woman gets 18 months in prison for stealing $89K from Methodist church to pay for gambling, bills


An Alabama woman was sentenced to prison for stealing nearly $90,000 from a congregation and gambling it away. The major financial loss eventually led to the church's closure. 

Carmen Ramer Davis, a 59-year-old resident of Opp, was sentenced last Thursday to 18 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to eight counts of wire fraud, according to a Department of Justice press release.

Davis served as the secretary for Brooklyn Congregational Methodist Church in Coffee County from 2006 through 2019 when the church became aware of her criminal activities.

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In addition to her prison sentence, Davis will also have to pay the church $89,440.32 in restitution, the exact amount she stole, and one year of supervised release after she's released on probation. 

“The crimes committed by Ms. Davis victimized an entire faith community,” said United States Attorney Sandra J. Stewart. “The harm will continue to be felt for quite some time. I am hopeful that the sentence imposed will deter others from engaging in such deceitful conduct.”

According to court records, as secretary, Davis had access to the church’s bank accounts and had the authority to pay for expenses and bills. She eventually obtained a debit card tied to the church’s bank account without the congregation being aware of it.

Davis used the card for fraudulent cash withdrawals, cashing checks for herself, personal purchases at retailers, and trips to casinos located in Alabama and Mississippi.

Davis’ fraudulent actions were discovered in August 2019, according to the DOJ, when a church leader got a letter from the bank where the church had an account “indicating there were insufficient funds to cover a $75 check written against the church’s account.”

Last August, another church secretary in Alabama pled guilty to 12 counts of wire fraud for embezzling approximately $209,000 from First Baptist Church of Foley from 2007 to 2019.

Sharon Collins, the former secretary of FBC Foley, admitted to using cards issued in both her name as well as the names of coworkers to steal the money from her church and use it for assorted expenses, such as satellite TV bills, airfare and a college degree. 

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