Officials: Sarasota couple steals nearly $40,000 from church

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 2:21 PM EST

A husband and wife were arrested in Sarasota County and are accused of defrauding a church of close to $40,000. 

  • Sarasota couple steals nearly $40,000 from church 
  • Amanda and Nolan Towner arrested on defrauding charges
  • Theft spanned from Sept. 2014 - Oct. 2016

The theft began in September 2014 and spanned for two years while Amanda Towner, 25, and her husband Nolan Towner, 30, worked at Faith Baptist Church. 

The church notified the sheriff's office that the couple defrauded the church of $39,000 on a Chase business credit card account. They reviewed the credit card statements in August 2016 and found a significant amount of unauthorized charges made on the card issued to Pastor Anderson/Faith Baptist Church. 

Amanda Towner was the church's bookkeeper and Nolan assisted the church with audio visual and computer IT work on a volunteer basis. 

Investigators determined that Nolan got the credit card number from his wife and used it to make numerous purchases on his personal Amazon account. He also used his personal Square account to withdraw money from the credit limit on the Chase card and have it deposited into his personal checking account. 

According to the report, Amanda was aware of the purchases but did not make in known to the church. She continued to make payments on the Chase credit card using church funds.

Investigators said both Amanda and Nolan admitted to the fraudulent use of the credit card. 

Nolan said he only did it a few times at first but that it grew out of control and was unable to help himself. 

Amanda said they were having marital problems and didn't want to get her husband in trouble. She said she was hoping he would just stop. 

The charges began in September 2014 and continued until October 2016 when the fraud was discovered. The total amount of financial loss sustained was $39,471.99.