ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA (WAFB) - A church minister pleaded no contest Thursday to felony theft after being accused of stealing from his own church.
Reverend George Veal, along with seven others, is accused of illegally transferring tens of thousands of dollars from a nonprofit to the Union Bethel Family Church in St. Francisville and into private hands back in 2010.
Until Veal entered the plea, he had been scheduled for trial next week.
Detectives also arrested Oliver Wingfield, an East Feliciana Parish School Board member; John Cobb, a West Feliciana Parish police juror; Carol Cobb, his wife; Louisa Jones, his mother-in-law; John Perry and David DeLoach.
Detectives said Veal and Wingfield ran a nonprofit organization in Clinton, which burned down in 2008. The two then donated $80,000 in insurance money to the St. Francisville church. Sometime after, church members were told their account was overdrawn by $11,000. It is believed they passed checks among themselves, moving money through several accounts.