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State

Ex-pastor gets 15 years for theft

CHICAGO (AP) – A former pastor has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing from his church.

Prosecutors said Monday that Bernard Johnson, 47, of Augusta, Ga., pleaded guilty to felony theft from a place of worship. He is ex-pastor of St. Paul Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on Chicago’s South Side.

Prosecutors accused him of taking out credit lines in the church’s name and making unauthorized personal purchases for more than $50,000. The thefts happened between 2008 and 2010. Prosecutors say he spent the money on dining, travel, clothing and entertainment.

Johnson also was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution.

Cook County officials say Johnson had a previous 2009 conviction for stealing more than $43,000 from a school in Alabama.

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