PAMLICO CO: Pastor found guilty of embezzlement, elderly exploitation

Published: Feb. 5, 2020 at 9:25 AM EST
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A pastor was found guilty of embezzling more than $100,000 from an elderly woman here in Eastern Carolina.

Thomas Steele, 63, a pastor at New Life Baptist Church in Concord, was convicted Friday on embezzlement charges and four counts of exploitation of an elderly adult.

District Attorney Scott Thomas says Steele took more than $120,000 from an elderly woman from Grantsboro in the month's after her husband's death.

The victim, who is now 85, testified that she did not authorize for Steele to take her money and did not know that he had access to her accounts. Thomas says a family friend noticed the suspicious activity and reported it to law enforcement.

"This case demonstrates the importance of being aware of our older relatives and friends," said Thomas.

Steele was sentenced to up to 8 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $123,000 to the victim.