ROGERSVILLE — A former Rogersville church treasurer was sentenced to eight years of house arrest and ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution Friday by Judge John Dugger for embezzling church funds over a three year period.
Erin Nicole Frost, 27, 128 Reynolds Hill Drive, Rogersville, appeared in Hawkins County Criminal Court on Friday to enter a guilty plea to one count of theft over $60,000.
From 2006 until October 2009, Frost served as treasurer and secretary for the Bridge Baptist Church in Rogersville.
Beginning in January of 2007 Frost cashed about 100 church checks for herself and stole cash from the offerings that was supposed to be deposited in a church account.
She reportedly confessed some of the thefts to the church’s leadership/finance team in March 2010.
Following a Rogersville Police Department investigation she was indicted by the Hawkins County grand jury this past February.
Frost’s attorney, Daniel Boyd, told the judge that she was prepared to make full restitution of $75,000, which she raised by, among other things, selling her house.
Members of the Bridge Baptist Church leadership/finance team and the pastor attended court during Frost’s plea, and upon being questioned by Dugger, affirmed that the house arrest plea agreement meets their approval.
“Normally on a theft like this they go off to jail,” Dugger said. “It’s good that she’s paying all the money back today — every bit of it. That’s great. Normally you go to jail, but victims in crimes have a big say in Tennessee now.”
Assistant Attorney General Alex Pearson told the judge that the church leadership’s wishes from the beginning have been to receive restitution, and for the felony conviction to stay on Frost’s record, but they were also in favor of alternative sentencing.
Frost will be allowed to go to work; otherwise she will have to be at home unless the community corrections officer says otherwise.
She will also be required to do 16 hours of community service per month for the full eight years.
Violating the terms of her community corrections could result in her having to serve the full eight years in prison.
Theft over $10,000 is a Class B felony punishable by 8-12 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.