Woman who stole from churches sentenced to jail

(UPDATED WITH VIDEO) A Huron woman who stole more than $140,000 from two Sandusky churches was sentenced to four years in prison today.
Jessica Cuffman
Feb 4, 2012

(UPDATED WITH VIDEO) A Huron woman who stole more than $140,000 from two Sandusky churches was sentenced to four years in prison today.

Deborah Collinsworth, 48, was taken to the Erie County Jail after the hearing. She will be eligible to apply for judicial release after serving six months in prison.

Whenever she is released, Collinsworth will be required to pay full restitution to both churches. Ten church members attended the sentencing hearing.

Collinsworth was a part-time bookkeeper at both Emmanuel United Church of Chris, 344 Columbus Ave., and First Faith Community Church, 225 Jefferson St.

When church board members found discrepancies in bank statements in March last year, they reported her to police.

Collinsworth and her family also face lawsuits filed by both churches, seeking restitution for the stolen funds as well as punitive damages.

For more on what Collinsworth had to say at the hearing, pick up Friday's edition of the Sandusky Register.



I forgot to MENTION that this is TYPICAL of the LIBERAL state of OHIO.  This is exactly the JUSTICE you get from THE state that voted for LIBERALS like George W. Bush and JOHN KASICH.  Don't be fooled when the liberal MEDIA tells you this is a battleground STATE.  Ha! Ha!  This state is filled with 95% LIBERALS!  This state is just FILLED with UNION BUSTING, CONFEDERATE flag waving, BUSCH LIGHT drinking, COUNTRY music listening, NASCAR driving LIBERALS!


In the paper you have "Thou shall not steal" as the headline.  That isn't correct.  If you use "thou" you need to use "shalt."  "shall" is only correct if you change "thou" to "you"

The Answer Person

Why has there been nothing in the Sandusky Register about the same type of theft by the bookkeeper from First Presbyterian Church on Jackson & Washington?


Forgiveness is not forgetting the debt. Sin's that are forgiven are done so because someone paid the fine. In the case of being forgiven by God, Christ paid the fine and cost of the sin(s) while on the cross. So, one can forgive another but restitution still needs to be made to satisfy justice. Justice is not revenge, its payment for a transgression against another. Revenge is selfish gratification and pride that somehow the transgressor is below the vengers level, God hates a pridefull attitude.

For those who say, "Judge not lest you be judged", I say finish the paragraph, Christ said that BEFORE you judge make sure you've cleansed yourself and have dealt with sins in your own life. It doesn't mean we are not to judge but to judge without being a hypocrite.

The 70 x 7 forgiveness scripture is another that is taken out of context. You can once again forgive but restitution is to be made to the one offended.

What bothers me is how the State/city will fine a person for a crime that was made towards another citizen but wont demand the citizen to be compensated for the crime that was commited to them personally, this is mockery of justice. The victim must obtain a lawyer and sue, and hopefully will get something in the end for their pain and suffering. The state however always gets their cut. This is anoher assult upon the victim and its done every day by the courts here in Sandusky. Erie County court in Avery is the worse, if you file a small claims against someone and win they won't do anything to get you payment. They won't even answer quesitons as to how to get the person who lost to pay you. Lux's clerks will tell you they don't practice law and to get a lawyer. At least in Sandusky the courts will help you get the judgement payment. Why is Lux's court so off base with this and sides with the criminals?


The Answer Person

Boy what a FAKE she is!  So she "KNOWS" god has forgiven her?  She talks to him and he answers.  cool.  What a bunch of self-serving lip.


Self-serving lip for anyone who claims to be Christian. It's not just her. "I can sin but God will forgive me if I ask."


OKAY! So I got into some trouble a while back for stealing a gallon of milk and a jar of peanut butter when I first moved to the area.  My first offense( no more than $7.56 ) And I got 3 months in jail...Please tell me how in the heck does she ONLY get 6 months in jail for stealing 14,000 DOLLARS!?  Whats wrong with this? Yea I have learned my lesson and started going to food banks(no longer need them) BUT for real???


that's 140,000, understatement!


She stole $140,000 and she should get more than 6 months in jail for it.  She can't pay it back if she's in jail and not working, but who will give her a job after this?  Religion and law have absolutely nothing in common and while she may be forgiven for her sins, she will not be forgiven for her transgressions.  She has blackened her own reputation and yet will probably get off virtually scot free..  Maybe she will have to sell everything and move away.   We can only hope. 

Julie R.

This thief won't pay one red dime of the money back to these churches that are already struggling financially --- just like the thief from the Treasurer's office that stole $150K and the employee from Huron's KeyBank that stole almost half a million. You can bet they won't pay a cent back, either.

That said --- it's a good thing Tygh Tone handled this. Had it been those other 2 hypocrite judges at the corrupt Erie County courthouse I would have had a field day on this story!

local man

It amazes me the organizations that have people handling their money do not have them bonded.  In these type of situations the bond would have replaced the money and the bonding company would take back their assets.  Bonds are affordable for organizations - take note and get your affairs in order.


The age old copout for non-Christians. It is not about sinning habitually and willfully and assuming God will forgive. He knows the heart of a person so he knows if they are truly sorry. My handbook for life is the Holy Bible so I believe it when God says "If you will confess your sin, He is faithful to forgive and to cleanse from all unrighteousness." I don't know if Mrs. Collinsworth is forgiven. I don't know her. I don't know if she has asked for forgiveness. As I said before, that is between her and God. People are always just so conerned that others are going to get what they deserve, but when they are in trouble they hope to receive mercy. Also, she was sentenced to 4 years. She is only eligible to apply for release after 6 months.

Taxed Enough Already

 Tyge Tone was a questionable lawyer.  Can't imagine he is any better as a judge.


I'd believe God if He said anything but to read in a book written by God knows who, well, then, I have to question that.


in the video she reminds me of brisbane ...... the little boy in the "little rascals" who was in miss crabtree's class ..... and he was making all kinds of noise with a car horn (which he placed in the waste basket and would touch the wires to each other to make a loud "honk") and disturb the person who was in front of the class reciting ..... and many other shenanigans .... till miss crabtree caught him and gave him an ultimatum to read a poem that she gave him to study, or be expelled .... so brisbane said he wouldn't and left the school. he was hanging around the pond and thinking to himself ("learn that poem") that he couldn't go home, or he'd get in trouble .... so he went back to school and decided to recite the poem in front of class ....... "i feel off from the daffodil, and skinned my little shin" (which he was wimpering the whole time) .... to make a long story short ...... that's what this woman reminds me of ..... about as sincere as osama bin laden. (and to have the audacity to say she was going to pay it back ... just boggles the mind)!

Julie R.

Had this been the Catholic church now --- where most of the hypocrites at the Erie County courthouse sit --- the court would have had the thief's assets frozen immediately. They could care less about these other churches that are hurting financially.

Ned Mandingo

she should have told them fairy tales for one hour every week, then convinced them to give her the money.