Skip to main content
Press Release

Newcastle Woman Pleads Guilty to Embezzling from Local Church

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – Last week, DARLA BRALLEY, 58, of Newcastle, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty to a two-count felony information charging her with wire fraud and making and subscribing a false tax return, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.

Public records reflect that from 2012 until early 2020, Bralley served as the payroll administrator for St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church (“St. Paul”), located in Del City, Oklahoma.  In her role as the payroll administrator, Bralley had signature authority over St. Paul’s operating account, and she had authority to issue checks for authorized expenses on behalf of St. Paul.  Bralley also had authority to conduct online banking transactions for authorized St. Paul expenses.

At a plea hearing on September 28, 2022, Bralley admitted that between early 2014 and January 2020, she issued approximately 198 unauthorized checks drawn on St. Paul’s operating account to pay for various personal items and services, including personal credit card payments, utilities, and living expenses.  She further admitted that she routinely accessed St. Paul’s operating account online and made several unauthorized transfers from that account to pay her personal expenses.  Bralley admitted that she embezzled approximately $451,177.54 from St. Paul.

In addition to admitting to the wire fraud, Bralley admitted that on March 14, 2019, she signed under penalty of perjury a 2018 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040, that she then filed with the Internal Revenue Service.  She admitted that the return was false because she only reported total income of $61,189.00, but she knew she had received substantial income in 2018 related to the money she embezzled from St. Paul that she did not report on her tax return.

At sentencing, Bralley faces up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charge and up to 3 years in prison for the tax charge.

This case is a result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division and the United States Secret Service.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Brown.

Reference is made to court filings for further information.

Updated October 7, 2022