PUBLISHED: 09:42 EST, 24 June 2012 | UPDATED: 09:42 EST, 24 June 2012
A former church leader and his wife are accused of stealing nearly half a million dollars that they allegedly spent on gambling excursions.
Charles Gilford, who was pastor at the Bethel Institutional Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, was charged with aggregate theft and misapplication of fiduciary property this week, KHOU reported.
Also indicted in the case is the 58-year-old’s wife, Adriane Gilford, 53.
Indicted: Charles, right, and Adriane, left, Gilford have been charged with aggregate theft and misapplication of fiduciary property
Prosecutors said that between 2004 and 2007, the couple stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the church and used it to fund trips to the Coushatta Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Amy McCauley, who works in the white collar crimes section of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, told KHOU: ‘Over that three-year period… they were able to take that total of $430,000 from that little Baptist church.’
Gilford and his wife left BIMBC in 2007.
Victimised: Prosecutors say that between 2004 and 2007, the couple stole $430,000 from the Bethel Institutional Missionary Baptist Church used it to fund trips to a Louisiana casino
The current leadership at the church would not comment when contacted by KHOU.
Friends of the couple, like Regina Davis, were shocked when they learned of their arrests.
She told KHOU: ‘And when I tell you impeccable people, outstanding people willing to help, I just… this is a little bit too much for me.’
Flock in shock: Members of the couple’s congregation and their friends, like Regina Davis, were stunned when they learned of their arrests
The case is not Adriane Gilford’s first brush with the law. She was arrested in 2010 on a charge of cheque fraud.
If convicted, the couple faces anywhere from five years to life in prison.