Woman uses church’s bank account to pay for a new car after getting a check donation to help her with electric bill


Shareafa Watkins 
By: Feng Qian

A woman was arrested on a charge of identity theft after allegedly using a church’s checking account to pay her bills, according to police in Louisiana.

The Kenner Police Department said that they have arrested 27-year-old Shareafa Watkins, after being accused of stealing nearly $20,000 to pay her bills, including payments for a new car.

Watkins has been charged with identity theft valued over $1,000, illegal transfer of monetary funds and being a fugitive from another jurisdiction.

She was booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, and her bail was set at $30,000.

According to the police, the crime came to light after the pastor of the Oakland Baptist Church, noticed a deficit in the church’s bank account.

The pastor then realized that somebody seemed to be paying personal bills with money from the church without permission.

The bank revealed that Watkins was paying her bills.

The pastor told investigators that he had never heard of Watkins and never gave her permission to use the church’s checking account.

Watkins began using the bank account after she received help to pay an electric bill. The church gave Watkins a check, and the woman then used the information on the check to pay her other bills.

Watkins used $3,000 for Sprint, $1,100 for cable TV, $2,100 for electric, $5,000 for home insurance, and $7,100 for a car.

Watkins admitted to the allegations, saying that she set up the payments through her smartphone, using the church's checking account.