A pastor and his wife in Missouri “have pleaded guilty in federal court to involvement in a four-year scheme to embezzle from a Joplin business owner,” according to The Joplin Globe.
- Jeanine Poe, 51, “pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud,” while her husband, William Poe, 57, “pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of a felony, which refers to concealment of a felony.”
- The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri said in a statement that Jeanine “was hired to manage two Doc's Stop convenience stores in Joplin,” and the owner had little to do with the businesses.
- She reportedly “told the owner the businesses weren’t doing well financially and asked him to invest even more money.”
- The owner then “invested much of his salary to financially support the businesses,” according to the statement.
- After the stores continued to lose money, the owner asked a friend in October 2019 to check the financial affairs and “learned that Jeanine Poe was embezzling money from his businesses.”
- She had “obtained at least seven credit cards in the name of the businesses, conducted transactions on the credit cards, and paid for such transactions with funds from the businesses, the attorney's office said.”
- One of the credit cards was in William Poe’s name, according to the attorney’s office.
- All of the cards “had reached their maximum allowable credit limit, and many times were used by the Poes for expenses that were entirely unrelated to the operation of the businesses, including trips and personal expenses.”
- William Poe admitted he was aware of the scheme and “and said he concealed these thefts by convincing the owner that his wife was not embezzling when he knew she was stealing from him.”
Under federal statutes, Jeanine Poe is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. William Poe is subject to a sentence of up to three years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Friendly Atheist reported that William Poe — who goes by Lew Poe — “is the pastor at Wildwood Baptist Church in Joplin.” The publication also noted that Jeanine Poe appears to have something to do with the church’s finances, though she has been accused of no misconduct there.