A MAN who pleaded guilty to stealing cash from his church where he was ‘entrusted to count’ collections from the congregation, received a two year jail sentence, suspended for three years, at Antrim Crown Court on Friday.
Eamon Shiels (62), who gave his address as Old Park Avenue, Ballymena, admitted one count of fraud by abuse of position and three charges of theft relating to Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church in Cullybackey.
The specifics of the fraud charge were that ‘between the 1st day of July 2008 and the 31st day of March 2015, whilst occupying a position in which he was expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church, dishonestly abused that position in that he took cash from collections within the Church which he was entrusted to count, with the intention, by means of the abuse of that position to make a gain for himself or another, or to cause loss to Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church, or to expose Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church to a risk of a loss’.
The specifics of the theft charges were that ‘between the 1st day of August 2014 and the 1st day of September 2014, stole cash to the value of £660 or thereabouts belonging to Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church’;
‘Between the 1st day of March 2015 and the 1st day of April 2015, stole cash to the value of £770 or thereabouts belonging to Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church’ and
‘Between the 1st day of September 2013 and the 21st day of December 2014, stole cash to the value of £600 or thereabouts belonging to the Sunday School Collection within Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church’.
Three other charges were ‘left on the books’.