Church looks to recover $1M allegedly stolen by employee

Posted at 4:38 PM, Jul 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-08 16:38:39-04

SUGARLAND, TX (KTRK/CNN) - Rosina Blanco was arrested after a church where she worked uncovered evidence of her taking money for her personal use.

The Basilian Fathers' Mission hired Blanco in 2015 to be a bookkeeper, but last year they noticed something wasn't adding up. Now, they're hoping to recover more than $1 million in missing money.

"We saw evidence of all kinds of personal expenses," lawyer Steve Williard said. "She was forging the father's signature on transfers, so that's how she was able to accommodate this."

Williard said there was evidence she had purchased four German shepherds and used charitable donations to the mission to live a lavish lifestyle, including real estate, jewelry and Louis Vuitton handbags.

Blanco, 38, has been charged with eight counts of wire fraud.

A statement from the mission's priest said the money was meant to "fund the charitable apostolic ministries of the congregation in Mexico and Colombia.

Williard said the church was in disbelief that it could happen.

"He was torn between forgiveness on the one hand," Williard said, "and on the other hand, this was wrong and stealing from people that really needed the money."

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