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Press Release

Gretna Preacher Sentenced To Serve 19 Months in Federal Prison for Stealing Over $320,000 from Church

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JOSEPH R. ALEXANDER, age 60, a resident of Gretna, Louisiana, was sentenced yesterday to 19 months in federal prison for bank fraud.  He was indicted in December 2017 and pled guilty in December 2018.

According to papers filed with the court and signed by ALEXANDER, ALEXANDER was the minister at a Church of Christ congregation in Gretna, Louisiana.  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.  He used these funds for personal expenses. 

JOSEPH R. ALEXANDER faced a maximum term of imprisonment of thirty (30) years, a fine of $250,000.00 and five (5) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.  He was ordered to report to federal prison on July 3, 2019 to begin serving his sentence.  He was also ordered to pay $321,491 restitution.     

The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service. 

The case was being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Carter K. D. Guice, Jr. of the General Crimes Unit.

Updated April 4, 2019

Financial Fraud