Pastor charged with stealing from church

Aug. 19, 2009 at 8:26 PM

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- A Los Angeles minister was arrested Wednesday on charges he stole more than $800,000 from his church, police said.

The Rev. E. Joshua Sims, pastor at Double Rock Baptist Church in Compton, was arrested at his home in Corona after a months-long investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, spokesman Steve Whitmore told the Los Angeles Times.

Investigators said Sims diverted church funds into a personal account between March 2000 and September 2008, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Sims is scheduled for an arraignment Thursday in Compton on charges of grand theft, embezzlement, money laundering and witness intimidation.

Members of the congregation said when they began questioning the finances, Sims allegedly threatened them during his sermons, Robison told The Times.

Church officials were not available for comment.

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