Woman sentenced for theft from church
CAMBRIDGE — A Cambridge woman accused of stealing from Bucktown United Methodist Church near Cambridge received an 18-month active jail term with 13 1/2 months suspended from Dorchester County District Court Judge Melvin Jews Tuesday, April 19.
Ashley Rene Ellis, 32, was charged with operating a theft scheme over $10,000 but under $100,000, identity theft, forgery of private documents, obtaining money by forgery and issuing false documents.
Ellis pleaded guilty to theft scheme between $10,000 and $100,000, which encompasses a series of unauthorized payments to herself from church funds when Ellis accessed the church funds from a checking account controlled by a family member who served as church treasurer, according to the Dorchester County State’s Attorney’s Office.
State’s Attorney William Jones said Ellis’ 18-month incarceration will begin immediately in the Division of Corrections. He said once she is released, she will be on supervised probation for five years with the special condition that she pay restitution to the church in the amount of $19,632.77 within three years.
Jones said he commends the work of the criminal investigation by the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, which led to the successful resolution of the case.
According to the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, the investigation revealed Ellis stole and forged checks from Bucktown United Methodist Church beginning in September 2015 and ending in February 2016.
Charging documents said 39 checks were forged for amounts ranging from $85 to $2,300, totaling $19,632.76, over two business accounts and two savings accounts. Most of the checks were made out to Ellis, police said.