Crime Southern States

Baptist Church Secretary Allegedly Steals $768,050 Leaves Church in Debt

Baptist Church Secretary Allegedly Steals $768,050 Leaves Church in Debt

Sharon McClelland Bradley photo provided by Polk County Sheriff

Sharon McClelland Bradley photo provided by Polk County Sheriff

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LAKELAND, Florida — A former church secretary was arrested by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office on a charge of fraudulent use of credit cards and other charges, Tuesday, authorities said. To date, authorities said that Sharon McClelland Bradley has stolen a total of $768,050 from the church.

Bradley, 62, of Lakeland started work as a finance secretary at Calvary Baptist Church in Winter Haven located on Overlook Drive Southeast, a police news release said.

The report said she used the church’s money for spending on Amazon,, Paypal, QVC and other retail purchases.

The church staff in 2019 noticed church bank statements based on a digital image of an active $225,000 credit line, connected to another bank account that did not belong to the church. A head deacon then requested copies of the statements. Around this time, Bradly knew that an audit took place, and she retired, according to authorities.

The staff contacted the police and requested an investigation into the possible theft of church funds. Earlier this year, detectives’ investigation showed that the line of credit Bradly had was being used to put money into church accounts, which she was then taking from.

There is still a balance of $190,000 on the line of credit that Calvary is responsible for paying off.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the different bank and credit card company records showed:

Bradley’s credit cards:

In 2015, payments from CBC accounts began going to Bradley’s Capital One credit card account in May for a total of $19,673.74
In 2016, there was a new Barclay payment along with the Capital One for $62,104.06
In 2017, new credit card payments were made for $133,936.84
In 2018, the same credit cards and a reoccurring car payment was made for $151,647.14
In 2019, credit cards and car payments for $114,705.40
2020 was a shorter period due to Sharon Bradley’s retirement, for a total of $45,925.37
Total = $527,992.55

Bradley’s Mid-Florida Credit Union account:

Checks from CBC accounts were deposited into Sharon Bradley’s account for $21,278.69
Cash deposits from cash payments to Calvary preschool between 2016 and 2020 amounting to $89,017.00 were deposited into her accounts
Supporting records maintained by Sharon Bradley confirm cash payments in 2018, 2019, and 2020 that did not get deposited into the CBC accounts
On 11-7-2019, a transfer from the CBC account to Sharon Bradley’s personal MFCU account totaling $4,000.00
On 11-28-2019, a transfer from the CBC account to Sharon Bradley’s personal MFCU account totaling $3,000.00 – both transfers were payments for new pool at her home
Total = $117,295.69 deposited into the account(s) belonging to Sharon Bradley

CBC’s SunTrust Bank account:

In 2015, $15,135.96 in unauthorized purchases for clothing and beauty supplies and QVC products
In 2016, $216.19 in unauthorized purchases to Netflix
In 2017, $1,168.87 in unauthorized purchases to Wayfair, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kirkland’s
In 2018, $3,084.93 in unauthorized purchases to Amazon, medical expenses, and entertainment
In 2019, $4,433.10 in unauthorized purchases to SeaWorld, Amazon, and PayPal
Total = $24,039.05

CBC’s Sam’s Club credit card:

In 2015, $22,481.61 in unauthorized purchases for Clothing, PayPal, medical, and
In 2016, $16,791.00 in unauthorized purchases for Clothing, PayPal, and Jewelry
In 2017, $28,793.63 in unauthorized purchases for Clothing and PayPal
In 2018, $22,410.10 in unauthorized purchases for Clothing, PayPal, and Bed Bath and Beyond
In 2019, $8,059.93 in unauthorized purchases for Clothing, PayPal, and Home Depot
In 2020, $187.17 in unauthorized purchases to Home Depot
Total = $98,723.44

To date, a total of $768,050.73 has been identified with more than $600,000.00 of that confirmed. Further charges are pending a full audit and review from all records obtained during the investigation.

According to authorities, she is charged with:

Grand theft over $100,000
Criminal use of personal ID
Fraudulent use of credit cards
Uttering false instrument
Money laundering

Bradley was taken to the Polk County Jail. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has not provided a booking photo of Bradley at the time.

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