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August 19, 2014

Former Official With Pa. Faith Charity Admits $380,000 Theft

A former program director with an Allentown, Pa., religious nonprofit pleaded guilty Monday to stealing more than $380,000 from the charity's homeless clients, The Express-Times of Lehigh County, Pa., reports.

Sheri Lopez, 43, formerly led the Lehigh County Conference of Churches Homelessness Prevention Program. She faces up to seven years in prison on a felony count of theft, but prosecutors said the standard sentence under state guidelines is nine to 16 months. She is free on bail pending sentencing, which was set for October 22.

Ms. Lopez was the designated recipient of clients' Social Security payments and benefits and was responsible for writing checks to pay their rent, utilities, and other bills. Prosecutors said she wrote checks to herself totaling $380,415 from 2006 until early this year, when the thefts were discovered and she was fired.