By Staff

LUBBOCK, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Federal officials have announced that a 52-year-old Lubbock woman was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in federal prison after using church funds for personal enrichment.

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham said on November 18 that Lisa Dawn Stabeno had been sentenced on two counts of bank fraud, which she plead guilty to in May.

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According to court documents, Stabeno embezzled more than $450,000 from Church on the Rock, a non-denominational religious institution serving more than 3,400 parishioners in Lubbock.

In plea papers, Stabeno admitted that she began embezzling from the church in November 2013, just four months after assuming accounting responsibilities.

She began by using two credit cards, one assigned to a church employee and one assigned to a pastor, to pay personal expenses, including a car loan she co-financed with her daughter, medical and dental expenses, clothing, salon services, and restaurant meals.  She also used the credit cards to purchase supplies for a bakery she co-owned with her daughters.

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Stabeno began paying herself with church credit cards in 2014 through Square, a cell phone-based point-of-sale system.

In 2015, Stabeno opened two more credit cards, one in her own name and another in her daughter’s. She used these cards for personal expenses, racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, which she paid off using money from the church bank account.

She also used the personal credit cards to make “purchases” and payroll at her bakery, then paid off the cards with money from the church accounts, boosting the bakery’s sales and profits and raising her daughters’ salaries.

U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix, who lamented her “brazen thefts,” also ordered her to pay $450,000 in restitution.

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