Gretna Minister Charged with Stealing over $320,000 from Church
Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that JOSEPH R. ALEXANDER, age 60, a resident of Gretna, was charged yesterday in a sixteen count Indictment with bank fraud.
According to the Indictment, ALEXANDER was the minister at a Church of Christ Congregation in Gretna. Starting in 2006 and continuing until December 2013, ALEXANDER stole $321,491 from the church in three different schemes. The first involved his writing church checks to himself, but creating false entries in church ledgers which indicated the checks were being written to legitimate church vendors, when in reality ALEXANDER was paying his bills and funding family vacations to Alaska and Las Vegas, among other places. He also bought gifts for parishioners, shopping at the Apple Store and Victoria’s Secret. He also paid his son’s college tuition with church funds. The second method involved his opening of an online bank account without church permission and paying personal expenses from the online account. Finally, he forged a church elder’s signature on checks which required two signatures.
If convicted, ALEXANDER faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years per count, a fine of $250,000 and five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
Acting U.S. Attorney Evans reiterated that the Indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Acting U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the United States Postal Inspection Service in investigating this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carter K. D. Guice, Jr. of the Fraud Unit is in charge of the prosecution.