TEMPLETON, Calif. - A former bookkeeper was sentenced Monday to nearly three years in state prison for embezzling church funds.
San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said Tuesday that Claire Eastin, 51, of Templeton was sentenced to two years and eight months in state prison.
Dow's office says Eastin embezzled funds from Life Community Church in Templeton from January 2012 through April 2018.
She pleaded no contest to two counts of grand theft by embezzlement. She was ordered to pay more than $177,000 in restitution.
During her hearing, members of the congregation spoke about the theft and breach of trust. They said she had been very involved in the church, and they were shocked she had been stealing from them for so long.
"Churches are unique in what they offer our communities," said District Attorney Dow. "They provide a place for people to share their faith and serve the larger community. They work with our youth, assist the elderly, the homeless and serve in so many other ways that churches are uniquely equipped to do. A theft of this magnitude harms not only the church itself, but our community as a whole. It is important for Claire Eastin and others who violate a position of trust in this way to be held responsible."