Church Embezzler Gets Six Years In Prison

New Bern, NC - A former financial administrator for a Craven County church has admitted she stole from her church.

Last summer Susan Barney was indicted for stealing more than $900,000.00 from the Garber United Methodist Church in Trent Woods.

Barney went before a superior court judge Wednesday and pleaded guilty to 9 counts of embezzlement.

The judge sentenced the woman to six years in prison and 5 years probation. She's been in Central Prison since last July.

Barney's attorney says the couple has already paid back $649,000 to the church by selling various pieces of family-owned property.

The judge says Barney must pay back $296,878 before she finishes her probation.

Her attorney told the judge that Barney's son stole checks from his parents to help pay for his drug habit, and then Barney wrote checks on the church account to make up the difference. Other church money was used to pay off his drug dealers and for drug treatment centers.

But prosecutors say a church credit card racked up $149,000 worth of charges at Belk, Ann Taylor, and Victoria Secret.

Her husband, Craven County sheriff's department investigator Rick Barney, was cleared of any involvement in the embezzlement.

But Rick Barney, according to her attorney, lost his job with the sheriff's department.


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  • by Chris Location: mhc nc on Mar 31, 2009 at 07:03 PM
    I think every person that has or have handled any thing to do with the funds coming in and out of the church should be investigated. I always thought of church as a place of worship not big business. And she got a little over 4 years in jail and 5 years probation. Yes i agree what she did was wrong and she should be punished i also believe she did not take close to a million dollars. I do believe there was more than one person to blame for this and she been given the blame for it all. I have one thing to say the church should practice what it preaches. shame on Garber. Free Susan barney and give Rick his job back
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on Mar 27, 2009 at 11:41 AM
    IF her husband has been cleared of any wrongdoing, then why doesn't the Craven Co. Sheriff do the right thing and hire this man back, and pay him backpay?
  • by Millicent Location: Greenville on Mar 27, 2009 at 06:08 AM
    I know what she did was wrong and she is paying for that. I still feel sorry for her and everyone involved. She lived very well for a while, but that is over with. She will serve her time, come out a felon and by that time her husband will have moved on and she will be without anything. I doubt she has anything stashed away the way she lived.
  • by Just a girl Location: wmst on Mar 26, 2009 at 09:09 PM
    maybe BIG bertha will give her a lesson in prison...
  • by JOJO on Mar 26, 2009 at 08:55 PM
    Sometimes you just have to let the children fall on their face. As long you keep picking them up, they will keep doing it. Take care Rick
  • by Anonymous Location: Craven Co on Mar 26, 2009 at 08:26 PM
    I can see how someone in the family may not have known she was going through this much money. I watched a close family member spend a lot of money on another family member who had a serious heroin addiction. It took a long time before it was figured out, and no, there was no embezzlement going on, but this family member accumulated a LOT of debt trying to save the addicted family member. The enabler needs just as much help as the addicted person. They all need prayer and support. This lady is paying in ways most of us would never understand. God forbid we have a loved one who becomes addicted to drugs. When you love someone, you can go too far trying to save them.
  • by Sharon Location: Greenville, NC on Mar 26, 2009 at 07:17 PM
    quote:"You thumpers are brainwashed. If jesus forgives everybody, why do we have prisons? God doesn't need money, the phony greedy christians do" NO Forgiveness is Gods through Christ. The reason for our salvation is to have our home in Heaven with Christ. While we are here, we will all struggle. Man deals with prisons for society's sake, Jesus forgives, for a souls sake, if they believe on Him. There are good & bad people in every walk of life including the Church. We are to the right thing, period. But some get there quicker & some slower than others. Some never get there.we know we are not perfect, but we have God working for us. Yes, God does not need $. You miss the point. He knows we need it but does not want us to depend on it for our livelihood.We trust we will never be without, through faith, not money. Tithing should not be feared,God blesses the one who tithes & gives beyond the tithe. I know! My money needs are always met since I have followed this principle.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2009 at 06:03 PM
    You thumpers are brainwashed. If jesus forgives everybody, why do we have prisons? God doesn't need money, the phony greedy christians do..
  • by D Location: Kinston on Mar 26, 2009 at 03:35 PM
    If she gets out in six years she owes $296,878.00 Who is going to hire a convicted felon at a wage that it will not take a lifetime to pay off that debt? I feel sorry for the church that this happened. Jesus forgave a thief as he hung on a cross as bad as this crime is shouldn't we forgive her too as Christ would?
  • by Greg Location: Greenville on Mar 26, 2009 at 02:53 PM
    Hopefully the husband had nothing to do with it. Were the assets they had to sell off an inheritance or does he just make that kind of money? If neither, he should have questioned it. But we don't see his side of the story. So we shouldn't judge. I'm sure if he was involved, it would have some out in trial, unless he paid the judge off. He may have. Six years for the wife taking all that money? That ludicrous.
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