A leader of the Christian Scientists, clearly jealous of all the other religions constantly making headlines, did everyone a favor by getting charged with stealing $11.4 million from worshipers in order to fund his lavish lifestyle.
Charles Thomas Sebesta is the former board chair for the Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, a religious group that continues to claim “faith healing” is real while standing on top of a pile of kids they’ve killed. He began working for the church in 2001, joined in 2005, and soon gained control over their financial assets, allowing him to siphon off the cash for himself.
Yesterday, a federal grand jury indicted him on allegations of “wire fraud, bank fraud and identity theft.” He apparently used the money for, among other things, a new house and a “membership to an exclusive dining club at Disneyland” — Club 33 — because Goofy doesn’t come cheap.
Prosecutors say for at least a decade beginning in 2006, Sebesta had money sent to bank accounts in his name, the names of his family members and several phony companies.
The Justice Department also says that, in 2008, Sebesta sold a church property in Hollywood for approximately $12.8 million and gave himself a portion of the proceeds, using more than $2 million for a new home.
He faces up to 250 years in prison. Though, given that he’s 54, I’ll gladly accept a compromise of just four decades behind bars. (What can I say, I’m in a forgiving mood.)
At least he got caught. You know a religious group has far too much money when someone can just steal $11.4 million and it goes unnoticed for this long.
(Image via Shutterstock)