General Crime

* Eleanor Zapanta Spiritual Center’s Business Manager Arraigned On Grand Theft Charges

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A business manager accused of stealing more than $712,000 from the Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa over a seven-year period was arraigned this morning in Sonoma County Superior Court.

Eleanor Zapanta, 51, of Guerneville, was taken into custody this morning in court on a $1 million arrest warrant and is scheduled to enter a plea on Wednesday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Bill Brockley said.

She is charged with seven counts of grand theft, seven counts of forging business documents, and an enhancement alleging theft by an employee of more than $500,000, and could face 12 years in prison if convicted, Brockley said. The alleged thefts and forgery of more than 250 checks occurred between 2004 and 2010 when Zapanta was the center’s business manager, Brockley said.

Brockley would not disclose how the theft occurred or how the allegedly stolen money was spent. Santa Rosa police began investigating the case several months ago, he said. The Center for Spiritual Living promotes Religious Science, a religious movement founded by Ernest Holmes in 1949. Among other beliefs, the center emphasizes the power of the mind in achieving healing and fulfillment in life, according to its website.

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