Ex-Pastor Who Embezzled From Church Sentenced


UPDATED: Friday December 3, 2010 3:19 PM

An ex-pastor convicted of embezzling more than $1 million from his former church was sentenced to five years in prison on Wednesday.

A judge found David Thompson guilty in September on several charges, including theft, money laundering and tampering with records, 10TV's Maureen Kocot reported.

He faced a possible sentence of up to 90 years in prison.

After he is released from prison, Thompson will serve an additional five years on community control. He was also ordered to pay $733,000 in restitution.

Thompson was convicted of embezzling from The World of Pentecost Church, located at 3431 East Main Street, between 1998 and 2007.

Prosecutors said Thompson spent church funds on luxury cars, a pool, a boat and hair treatments, Kocot reported.

One angry church member told Thompson it would have hurt less if he held a gun to his head. 

"David, a senior citizen named Esther gave from her fixed income so you could drive a Hummer," said church member Rebecca Schwendemen. "You, David, are a wolf.  You did not spare the flock.  Instead, you fleeced it."

Thompson insisted he never illegally spent church money but admitted he gave false financial reports to church members. 

During his trial, Thompson said he had the authority to use the funds.

"I felt as the pastor and as the overseer I was mandated first and foremost from God and also from the bylaws that I was to take care of the welfare of the church, and I put more emphasis on the people versus a building," Thompson said in September.

Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for additional information.

Previous Stories:

September 30, 2010: Ex-Pastor Found Guilty In Embezzling $1M From Church
September 2, 2010: Ex-Pastor Testifies In Embezzlement Trial
February 27, 2009: Ex-Pastor Accused Of Stealing More Than $1M From Church