N.J. woman accused of stealing $561,000 from church to pay for car loans, wedding

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020
N.J. woman accused of stealing $561K from church to pay for car loans, wedding
A Willingboro woman is accused of stealing more than $561,000 as reported by Bob Brooks during Action News at 11 on February 11, 2020

FLORENCE TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The financial manager for a New Jersey church stole more than half a million dollars to pay for personal expenses, including her wedding, investigators say.

Taisha Smith-Dejoseph is charged with computer criminal activity and tax fraud.

Officials say Smith-DeJoseph oversaw finances at Saint Paul's Baptist Church. They say she took more than $561,000 over a five year period ending in March 2019.

Trustees of the St. Paul Baptist Church vow to move forward.

Pastor Fred Jackson said, "Most of the church knows about what was going on. Thankfully the contributions have not decreased."

The investigation also revealed that Smith-DeJoseph used the money to pay her car loans, rent, credit card expenses, satellite television and cell phone bills, to make hundreds of online purchases, and even to pay for her wedding at The Merion in Cinnaminson.

"Trust. Trust. That's all I can say. We as Christians like to believe we're trusting and we put our trust in other people and in God and sometimes that trust is misplaced," said Jackson.

Smith-DeJoseph allegedly attempted to hide the embezzlement scheme and failed to file income tax returns for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018.

The pastor says new policies are already in place to prevent something like this from happening again.