A 64-year-old church treasurer pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $225,000 from a Garden Grove church and was immediately sentenced to five years of formal probation and time already served in custody, or 102 days, according to court records obtained Monday.
Moeiletafa Mauga of Irvine faces another 262 days in home confinement if the Orange County Sheriff’s Department accepts her application for the program. If not, she will return to jail.
Mauga pleaded guilty on Thursday to seven counts of grand theft with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white-collar crime between $100,000 to $500,000. As part of the plea deal, 13 other felony counts of grand theft were dismissed along with sentencing enhancements for property damage exceeding $200,000.
Mauga was ordered to pay $227,152.14 in restitution — the amount of money taken from the First Christian Church of Garden Grove from 2013 through 2017, according to court records.
Mauga began working as the church’s treasurer in 1978. She had access to church debit cards and would withdraw cash each week over several years, according to Garden Grove Detective Claudia Alarcon.
Mauga told investigators she did so for “personal expenses and gambling,” Alarcon said.