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.