Former Paso Robles church staffer charged with theft

A former office manager for the Life Community Church in Paso Robles is due in court next week on charges she embezzled more than $200,000 from the church.

The SLO County District Attorney’s Office filed three felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement against 51-year-old Claire Easton. Easton allegedly stole the money while she served as the church’s primary bookkeeper from Jan. 2012 to April 2018. She then falsified records to conceal her theft.

In 2018, another employee discovered the alleged theft after she took over the accounting work while Easton was off on sick leave. When confronted by church staff, Easton admitted to taking the money.

In January, Easton plead not guilty to all charges. She is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 18.