HOUSTON – A Harris County grand jury indicted a former Houston’s First Baptist Church minister Monday for allegedly stealing more than $800,000 from the church.
Jerrell G. Altic, 40, allegedly embezzled the money during a six-year period that ended in November 2017, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors say Altic allegedly spent the stolen funds on overseas trips with his family, groceries and to pay for his doctorate in divinity from Lancaster Bible College.
They added that he stole the money in a number of ways, including forged payments authorizations.
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Altic surrendered to authorities around 9 a.m. Tuesday.
BREAKING: 40 y/o Jerrell Altic, a former pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church is accused of stealing more than $800,000 from the church in 6 year span ending last Nov. He surrendered to authorities this morning, and is about to make first court appearance. #Khou11 #HTownRush
After his court appearance, Altic was taken away in handcuffs. His bond was set at $50,000.
Tuesday afternoon, his attorney said he has learned his lesson: “He’s actually met with the church and he’s asked for forgiveness.” said James Alston, Altic’s attorney.
UPDATE: Handcuffed, Jerrell Altic just surrendered himself to authorites. His bond set at $50k. Just spoke with his lawyer who says Altic is sorry and is fully cooperating w/ authorities, church and plans on paying back the $800,000 he allegedly stole. #Khou11 #HTownRush
UPDATE: We’ve just learned from prosecutors — that 40 YO Jerrell Altic spent the $800k plus money he allegedly stole from his church, Houston’s First Baptist – on things like overseas trips w/ his family, groceries, AND to pay for his doctorate in divinity. #khou11 #htownrush
Houston’s First Baptist Church said they discovered suspicious financial activity linked to Altic in November 2017. When they confronted him, he immediately resigned, the church said.
They turned their initial findings over to law enforcement and began a “thorough investigation conducted by staff leadership, relevant church committees and deacons as well as independent forensic accounting and legal experts.”
The investigation revealed Altic, acting alone, used several deceptive and “difficult to detect” techniques to steal the money, First Baptist said.
The church’s insurance will cover $500,000 of the total amount. Church leadership approved using unallocated contingency funds to replace the balance.
Here is the rest of the statement from First Baptist: