Woman charged with embezzling funds from Tucson church

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 8:11 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 9:59 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - A former Tucson woman has been charged with stealing money from an eastside church. Court documents reveal 54-year-old Carmen Theel is accused of embezzling funds from Pantano Baptist Church for about six years.

Theel is charged with one count of theft, seven counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices, which is a class two felony and one count of computer tampering -- a Class three felony.

The documents also show she’s alleged to have stolen more than $100,000 over six years from 2012 to 2018.

The court documents reveal she entered false information in the church’s check register spreadsheet to hide funds from church employees -- that she converted to personal use. Court records show she entered a not-guilty plea.

And she’ll be tried if it gets to that point on all counts during one trial.

13 News Investigates contacted the church but were told they were legally bound not to talk about the case.

If Carmen’s last name Theel sounds familiar. She’s married to a former Pima County Sheriff’s Department captain David Theel. In 2017, 13 New Investigates discovered and reported that Theel requested RICO expenditures that were not allowed under federal guidelines.

The money is seized from crime suspects. It was all part of an FBI probe into the alleged misuse of RICO money by the sheriff’s department. David Theel had been hired as police chief in Genrock, Wyoming, in 2019, but has since been fired, which he’s now fighting.

We’ll continue to follow the embezzlement case involving his wife and bring you all the developments.