Pastor embezzles $70K from North Carolina church

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

ROCK COUNTY, N.C. (Christian Examiner) -- A former North Carolina pastor was found guilty of embezzlement earlier this week and sentenced to nine months in prison.

John Albert Jackson Senior, 64, who led Goodwill Baptist Church in Madison for 21 years, reportedly stole $70,000 from the congregation over the span of a decade, using church money for personal expenses including a number of cars.

(Rockingham County Sheriff's Office)

Jackson held prior convictions for obtaining property under false pretense and embezzlement in other counties before becoming a pastor at GBC as well as during the early days of his leadership at the church.

But church members failed to see those red flags, said Reverend James Moore who has taken over the church since Jackson's resignation.

"This is a learning experience for all of us and we can't just pack the blame all on the pastor," Moore told local news WFMY. "There's enough blame to go on the whole church."

Church members did not confront Jackson about the church's finances until they nearly had to close their doors. Moore noted that the church has now added periodic financial updates for leadership accountability and to prevent a similar situation from happening again.

Jackson pleaded guilty to three counts of embezzlement and three counts of corporate malfeasance. In addition to jail time, he was sentenced to pay $30,000 in restitution to the church and will serve a 36-month probation following his release from the North Carolina Department of Corrections.

Jackson's son, John Albert Jackson Jr., and a former church secretary, Treva Tatum, also face conspiracy and embezzlement charges.