KINGSTON, OK -- The wife of a Kingston pastor has been charged with embezzling from their now former church.
"i don't want to go through it again...this is the first time i've ever had to deal with this," says James Abernathy, who's a deacon at the Compassion Church in Kingston, and has been a member for close to 20 years.
He says he learned in May that Samantha Webb, the wife of the now former pastor, was stealing from church accounts.
Abernathy says it was devastating for the whole congregation.
"To find out that, that money was taken from the church that everyone had given faithfully to help grow the church," said Abernathy.
Webb was taken into custody last Thursday in Hugo, after a warrant for her arrest was issued on charges of embezzlement.
Lieutenant Scott Brown says they suspect her of taking more than $20,000.
"While she was in charge of the finances, the banks checking account had been closed due to excessive overdraws month to month, so the checking account for the bank account had been closed but she continued cashing checks," said Brown.
Lieutenant Brown says, in addition to the Marshall County charges, Webb is also being charged with 2 felony counts of forgery in Choctaw County.
"She wrote 2 more checks on that account on August 8th and 9th to a convenience store in Choctaw County," said Brown.
Brown says webb's husband is not believed to have been involved in the embezzlement.
"Throughout my investigation I have not found anything that has led him to be a part of cashing the checks and all of that," said Brown.
"It's hard. It's hard to go through. We lost some people because of it. We are back up on our feet. We're gaining more people as the time goes on. We're going to make it through," said Abernathy.
Abernathy says the congregation has hired a new pastor and will remain true to the theme of their church.
"I still love Jonathan and Samantha and their children. I pray for them everyday. I just hope that she has learned from this," said Abernathy.