Columbus courts: 2 women plead guilty to stealing $450K from 4th Street Baptist Church

Two women accused of stealing $450,000 from Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church pleaded guilty on Tuesday and were ordered to pay back all the money, officials said.

Nikiena Bowden Rogers, 37, and Lalinriafaye Wilson Williams, 44, each pleaded guilty to six counts of theft by taking, the Muscogee County Superior Court Clerk’s Office said. Judge Frank Jordan Jr. sentenced Rogers to five years in prison, followed by 45 years’ probation. Williams received 50 years’ probation, officials said.

Each must pay back the $450,000 taken, clerks said.

Rogers is a former bookkeeper for the church. Williams was a friend of hers.

Prosecutors have said that Rogers began taking money from the church after she was hired in 2003.

The discovery of missing checks from the church was in 2005. The church’s pastor, the Rev. J.H. Flakes Jr., has testified that checks written to Rogers and Williams were not authorized.