Over a period of more than six years as the head of Houston First Baptist Church, former minister Jerrell G. Altic, 40, stole more than $800,000 in funds from the people he was meant to serve.
This past week, Altic was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his misdeeds.
The church did not discover the discrepancy in funds from its coffers until late in 2017, when it saw a series of transactions that were connected to Altic. When they confronted the minister about the money transfers, he immediately resigned from his position, and the church passed on the information to the local authorities.
The church had to stay quiet about the situation, according to a statement it released last December when Altic was formally indicted, in order to aid investigators in its inquiry, according to ABC13.
“These past months have been challenging and painful for us as the extent of Jerrell’s actions came to light and as we wrestled with the tension of wanting to inform the congregation, while also carefully following law enforcement’s lead in the investigation, balancing legal constraints with church procedures,” the church said in a statement last year.
Altic spent the bulk of the funds for personal reasons, to fund a more lavish lifestyle. He took overseas vacations with his family, funded his doctoral studies in divinity at Lancaster Bible College, and even made simple purchases, like buying groceries, WFAA reported.
— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) December 11, 2018
Prosecutors declined to say how Altic specifically stole the funds from his church, but they said that among the many means of doing so, he employed forging documents and using other means of misrepresentations.
Altic’s lawyer said that his client “knew this day was coming.” He also said that Altic expressed remorse over the matter, saying he was “sorry” for the “pain [he] has caused” for the church and for his family.
Featured image via Harris County