Police: Fmr. church official embezzled $100K

February 7, 2009 8:24:28 PM PST
A former West Philadelphia church official has been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 in church funds to buy vehicles for himself and his girlfriend.State Police charged 40-year-old Rodney Settles of Southwest Philadelphia with stealing more than $100,000 from the First Corithian Baptist Church at 5101 Pine Street in West Philadelphia while he served as chairman of the church's Board of Trustees.

The former head of the Board of Trustees faces felony charges after he allegedly came to a car dealership on Essington Avenue to purchase an SUV, presumably for himself, and a Chevrolet Malibu for his girlfriend, 39-year-old Lisa Whitaker.

She is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and conspiracy.

Pennsylvania State Police say Settles bought the vehicles with unauthorized church funds and opened credit card accounts in the church's name for his personal use.

No one at First Corithian knew of the actions until the church received a phone call about registration for the vehicles.

Settles was arrested after police got tipped off that he was attempting to retrieve one of the vehicles in Philadelphia on Saturday.

He had been living in Fort Washington, Maryland.

Despite his Fort Washington address, police say Settles has been a longtime memeber of the church and has served on the board since 2006.

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