Ex-Houston minister gets 10 years in prison, embezzled $800K

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HOUSTON (AP) - A former minister in Houston has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to what prosecutors call the theft of more than $800,000 from First Baptist Church.

Authorities say Jerrell Altic was sentenced Monday in Houston in a plea deal over embezzlement during a six-year period. Church officials in 2017 noticed suspicious financial activity and confronted Altic, who resigned.

Altic was indicted in December on a felony theft count.

Authorities say the 40-year-old Altic used forgery and other deceptive practices to steal church money and live a lavish lifestyle. Altic took his family on overseas trips, bought personal items and spent stolen funds to earn a divinity doctorate from Lancaster Bible College in Pennsylvania.

First Baptist Church, which has tightened financial oversight, had insurance that reimbursed $500,000.