Lawrence Pastor Charged With Stealing From Church

WBZ CBS News/January 29, 2010

The pastor of a Lawrence church, his wife, and the church's secretary have been charged with embezzling almost $137,000 from the congregation's bank account.

The Rev. Isaias Rivera, pastor of Tabernaculo de Adoracion y Musica, and his wife, Vivian, were arrested on Thursday.

Church secretary Kizzella Rivera turned herself in.

The alleged embezzlement took place between 2004 and 2009.

Police told WBZ all three stole the money by writing checks to themselves from the church account.

The Presbytery of Northern New England owns and runs the church.

Officials there discovered the alleged embezzlement and notified authorities.

"We are deeply disappointed. That money goes toward the care of the people of Lawrence," the Rev. Eric Markman of The Presbytery told WBZ.

Markman said the church has been closed down.

The money was given to the church by the PNNE.

Markman said they had a large youth membership, and were told there were 65 members, but when it closed they found there were only 17.

All three will be arraigned in Lawrence District Court Friday.The

(Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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