LANCASTER – A former deacon and board member for Lancaster Baptist Church was sentenced to 16 months in prison Thursday for failing to report almost $300,000 on his federal income tax returns from cash tithes he stole from the church.
Lancaster resident, Alvin Danielle Allen, 42, reportedly apologized for his actions and his sin before his sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge George H. King Thursday.
Allen, who previously worked as a special agent for NASA, has remained behind bars since pleading guilty in June to one count of subscribing to a false tax return.
Appearing before Judge King on July 21, Allen pleaded guilty to a count involving his fraudulent 2004 tax return, but also admitted filing fraudulent tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2008. (Read the entire plea agreement here.[pdf].)
According to the plea agreement, since approximately 1998, Allen was a deacon at Lancaster Baptist Church, where he was also an officer of the church board. From 2004 through 2009, Allen served on a church committee that counted the tithes after the church services.
While serving on the church committee, Allen stole from the church goers’ cash contributions. The amount of money Allen stole varied over the years until approximately October 2009 when Allen was caught on a hidden surveillance camera installed at the church, stealing the church tithings and putting the cash into his clothes. Allen stole a total of approximately $299,975 from the church from 2004 through 2008.
“Alvin Allen’s actions were detestable. Allen violated the trust placed in him by NASA as well as his church community, for his own personal financial gain,” said IRS Special Agent Leslie P. DeMarco in a previous statement. “Crimes committed by civil servants, whether as part of their official duties or private lives, violate public trust.”
Allen was previously convicted in state court of grand theft by embezzlement and commercial burglary for stealing the church tithings. He was sentenced to four years in state prison.
In relation to his 2004 tax return, Allen did not report the cash tithings he stole from the church, approximately $42,436, as his income on the tax return. Allen also falsely reported that he sold his rental property for a loss of $17,940, when in fact he had sold his rental property for a profit of approximately $60,000.
Concerning tax years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, Allen failed to report cash tithings stolen from the church of approximately $75,096, $61,903, $33,123, and $87,417, respectively. The tax loss to the IRS based on Allen’s failure to report his true income during this time period totals approximately $88,882.
As a result his guilty plea, Allen faced a statutory maximum sentence of three years in federal prison. But Thursday, Judge King reportedly took into account Allen’s military service, job history with NASA and service to the community before sentencing Allen to 16 months behind bars.
Allen’s federal prison sentence will run concurrently with Allen’s remaining state time. He must also pay taxes, penalties and interest assessed by the IRS and serve one year under supervised release following his release from custody.
(Information via IRS – Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office)