CHINO — A man convicted of stealing from Calvary Chapel Chino Hills was sentenced today to 270 days in jail.
Farrukh Ahmed, 48, a former administrator at the church, pleaded no contest last month to a felony count of grand theft.
As part of a plea agreement reached with prosecutors, Ahmed agreed to repay the church $25,000. Judge Stanford E. Reichert also placed Ahmed on probation for three years.
Despite Ahmed’s no contest plea, his attorney said Ahmed did not steal from the church.
David D. Diamond said after Ahmed’s sentencing in Chino Superior Court that Ahmed accepted a plea bargain from prosecutors because taking his case to trial would be too expensive.
“There’s no admission of any wrongdoing in this case,” Diamond said.
Ahmed was arrested in December 2009 after the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department investigated reports of money going missing at the church.
The church initially reported it was missing as much as $1 million.
But Diamond said that the amount of missing funds is far lower — with Ahmed, prosecutors and the church settling on $25,000 as the restitution amount to be paid by Ahmed.
“That’s the amount that the evidence shows was missing,” Diamond said.
Ahmed has already paid $12,500 to the church, and the remaining $12,500 will be paid in monthly increments of $350, Diamond said.
Diamond said there’s little oversight of the church’s finances, and he suggested that Ahmed was suspected of embezzling because of his Middle Eastern heritage.
Diamond said an independent body should investigate the church’s finances.
“There’s kind of no checks and balances,” Diamond said.