PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A woman charged earlier this year for stealing from the church where she used to work has pleaded guilty to the crimes.
Gloria Hardee, 58, recently pleaded guilty in Pender County Court to three counts of embezzlement. A judge sentenced her to five years probation and ordered her to pay restitution of $114,323.
The District Attorney's Office says Hardee's sentence is a longer term of probation than is usually given, but the judge ordered it to give her enough time to pay back the money. If Hardee violates probation, she will receive three 6-17 month consecutive active terms in prison, the DA's Office said.
Pender County Sheriff's deputies arrested Hardee for felony embezzlement in February. Investigators say officials at Riley's Creek Baptist Church in Rocky Point noticed something was not right with the finances back in July. To confirm their suspicions a short audit was conducted in July. It showed that there were misused funds.
The church says it fired an employee at that time, but at the time of her arrest would not confirm if it was Hardee, the church's secretary and treasurer. The church then contacted Wilmington Baptist Association to do a second audit in November.