Elderly Jacksonville Woman Convicted of Embezzling From Church

Jacksonville’s elderly hold positions of trust that allow them to have a greater influence on how day to day activities are run and organized. In many situations however, that trust is abused, either because of personal temptation, or because external pressures beyond one’s self. No matter the case, one in a situation like this should contact an experienced attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one has the best defense possible to one’s charge.

According to the Florida Times-Union, Betty Barnes has been sentenced to two years house arrest and restitution in full for embezzlement of $161,000 from a church that Barnes was employed at for a number of years. Her conviction came after Barnes was said to have written weekly checks to herself starting in 2006, and over that period deposit the charged amount in her bank account.

Jacksonville theft crimes typically involve a party who is desperate to make a break, be it from poverty, oppression from debts, or other issues that are monetarily related. However, desperation can make one forget or not even care about one’s actions. Unfortunately for the accused, the police and the government can and will try to you that desperation against one in confession form.

The State, as well as the government, is always looking for an easy case, and the easiest of cases would be one in which the police, prosecutor, or other authority obtains a confession from one about the crime. There are many limitations on a confession, as one has a right under the 6th amendment to be protected from incrimination by coercion. However, if one gives one’s self in voluntarily, those rights are waived, leaving one’s defense , as well as options for plea bargain, constructively useless and absent.

Many times, when a government official knocks on someone’s door who has been embezzling, that government official has enough suspicion to believe that one is committed a crime; however, that government official must still act within the Constitution in order to ensure that the proper procedures are followed for arrest and subsequent proceedings.

When the FBI, police, or other investigatory agencies come calling, do not answer those calls. The minute one lets the police in, either physically or psychologically, is the minute that their plan to convict someone of a crime turns in their favor. The state will attempt to put so much subtle pressure on someone that the person accused of the crime cracks under the stress of a guilty conscience. Under that same fear and desperation that caused the accused to do the crime, that person will sometimes go right to the police station and confess to everything, willingly.

One in this situation should not give into police so willingly. Stress and pressure from police is only a scare tactic. If the police and the State had enough to arrest and prosecute someone with an ease of access, they would have already arrested that person for the crime. The only person that one should call in a moment like this is an experienced Jacksonville embezzlement crimes defense attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure that one’s rights are protected, and that one’s defenses are known and fought for.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Sources: Law & Disorder: House arrest for woman, 78, in church embezzlement, Charles Broward, The Florida Times-Union