SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Like a big family, members of the Faith Baptist church know about each other’s triumphs and tragedies.
It came as a huge shock when Sarasota County Deputies arrested church bookkeeper, Amanda Towner, and her husband, church volunteer, Nolan Towner.
“It was very discouraging and disappointing [because] I still do love these two people very much and they were close confidants. So, I just didn’t see it coming” said Pastor Dave Anderson.
Starting in September of 2014, detectives believe Nolan Towner used a Chase credit card issued to the church to buy numerous items on Amazon.com, and took cash advances and deposited the money into his checking account.
He took a total of $39,471. Amanda, they believe, never said a word, and paid off the card using church money.
“It was a great blow to our finances and to our ministry opportunity. But, at the same time, it’s an opportunity for our church to demonstrate grace and forgiveness for a couple who’s desiring to make it right” said Anderson.
Neither Nolan nor Amanda answered their front door or their phone.
“They were very apologetic. They expressed great sorrow over what they had done” said Anderson.
The couple could be ordered to pay the money back.
“It’s easy to forgive when somebody has asked for forgiveness and they have a desire to make it right” said Anderson.
He said there are new procedures in place, with checks and balances, to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
According to an arrest report, Nolan only did it a few times at first, then it got out of control.
His wife told detectives, they were having marital problems, and she didn’t want to get her husband in trouble, and hoped it would stop.