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updated: 5/5/2014 4:18 PM

Ex-Chicago pastor gets 15 years for church theft

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Associated Press

A former Chicago pastor has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing from his church.

Cook County prosecutors said Monday that 47-year-old Bernard Johnson of Augusta, Georgia, pleaded guilty to felony theft from a place of worship. He is former pastor of St. Paul Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on Chicago's South Side.

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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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