Houston Pastor Charles Gilford, 58 and his wife Adriane, 53, (pictured) were arrested and charged with bilking their former congregation out of $430,000 in church funds and using them for gambling trips to Louisiana, according to KHOU News.
The couple stands accused of aggregate theft and misapplication of fiduciary property. They allegedly used the monies donated by their flock to gamble at the Coushatta Casino near Lake Charles between 2004 and 2007, when they served as pastor and first lady of the Bethel Institutional Missionary Baptist Church.
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The church is a Houston staple that has been standing for decades with a faithful following. It served as the Gilford’s home church for the three-year period when they allegedly robbed it of its funds.
Many of the Gilford’s friends are shocked and taken aback by the allegations against the pair who have otherwise maintained an overtly pristine reputation. After state prosecutors poured over the extensive financial records of the church and delved in to the pasts of the Gilfords, though, they learned some eye-opening facts that could put the pair away on charges that carry anywhere from 5 years to life in prison if convicted by a grand jury.
Investigators were intrigued by the fact that Adrianne had been cuffed by police two years ago and charged with a felony. She was accused of writing bad checks in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.
For now, the Gilfords are being held on a $800,000 bond each and are due in court on Monday.