Paso Robles church staffer pleads to theft charges

A former office manager for the Life Community Church in Paso Robles pleaded no contest Wednesday to charges she embezzled more than $200,000 from the church.

Originally charged with three counts of embezzlement, 51-year-old Claire Easton plead no contest to two counts of grand theft through embezzlement as part of a plea agreement in which the third count was dropped. Easton is facing two years and eight months in state prison.

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.

Easton’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 18.