A former office manager accused of stealing nearly $50,000 from a Blair church has a history of embezzlement, according to an affidavit filed in Washington County District Court.
Mary Ann Aten, 56, of Omaha faces felony charges of theft over $1,500, three counts of income tax evasion and one count of filing a false state income tax return. She could be sentenced to 20 years in prison for theft and up to five years on each of the four income tax charges.
According to the affidavit filed by a Blair police investigator, Aten stole $47,657 from the First Christian Church between July 2009 and February 2012 while working as the office manager. The affidavit says Aten took the money by writing checks to herself to cover rent payments.
Aten also is accused of failing to pay $4,406 in state income taxes over three years.
Aten's attorney, William Eustice of Omaha, did not return a message seeking comment.
Church elders informed Blair police after Aten was voted out of office by church members and a $9,500 mortgage payment was not paid. Chris Heng, chairman of the elders board at the church, said members of the congregation pitched in to replace the missing mortgage payment.
The affidavit says Aten's husband informed the elders that his wife embezzled money from two businesses while they lived in West Virginia. John Kohl, a special prosecutor in the church case, said he has not determined whether Aten was charged or convicted on either occasion.
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