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Compton pastor suspected of embezzling more than $800,000 from church

A Baptist minister was arrested this morning on charges of stealing more than $800,000 from the church he leads in Compton, officials said.

The Rev. E. Joshua Sims, pastor of Double Rock Baptist Church in Compton, was taken into custody this morning at his home in Corona, said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The arrest concludes a months-long investigation by sheriff's deputies, Whitmore said.

Between March 2000 and September 2008, investigators believe, Sims diverted church funds into a personal account, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. When church members began questioning his finances Sims allegedly threatened them during his sermons, she said.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Compton on charges of grand theft by embezzlement, money laundering and witness intimidation, Robison said. Prosecutors will request that bail be set at $1.2 million, she said.

Church officials were not immediately available for comment.

The Compton Bulletin reported last year that Sims stunned members of his congregation when he revealed at a meeting in September that he took thousands of dollars a month in “household allowances” without first obtaining the approval of the church’s board. Sims was also said to have told the meeting that more than $1 million was missing from church coffers.

According to the church website, Sims is a California native who was raised in Compton and grew up attending Double Rock Baptist. Before he was installed as pastor in 1998 he served on the ushers board, sang in the choir, taught Bible studies and was cast as the scarecrow in a church production of “The Wiz, Gospel Style.” Sims was ordained in 1983 and has preached at several other churches in Los Angeles County and elsewhere in the country, the site says.

-- Alexandra Zavis

Comments () | Archives (44)

R U surprised? Churches are a racket...

And they wonder why more and more people are turned off by organized religion.

what a surprise...another disciple of the money tree...give unto me and i shall taketh what is mine...religion is for fools and idiots who want someone else to be responsible for their lives...let this be a lesson to all those fools...watch where the money goes...most likely it is going into the pockets of those who ask for it.

Surprised? No. Turned off by organized religion? Maybe. Believe that Hope, Love and Faith will triumph? Yes!

It's like what the good book says: the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

Wonder what Rev. Sims stance is on the "sin" of gay marriage.

I was telling a friend at the gym this morning that, there isn't much difference between what goes on in religion and what street hustlers do.
I told her I had a friend who was a hustler when were in Jr.& Sr. hi school. I went to military and when I returned, he was a preacher. Right then and there I got insight into that hustle.

Why am I not the least bit surprised by this?! Because organized religion is the best scam going, that's why! If I had no morals and no conscience, I'd definitely go into the business of religion. They don't even pay taxes! I hope organized religion goes the way of other nonsense, and only a few people (like the birthers and other screaming right-wingers) still believe in those ridiculous fairy tales!

I am not at all suprised by this. These ministers drive around in private jets and rolls royce all the time. The members don't have a problem with throwing money at him, so why do they have a problem with this. It is so many people who are poor that go to these scheme centers. I think I am gonna go become a mega church pastor so I can get rich too. This is corporate religion at it's best. Only in America

Christ - YES

Prosperity Gospel - NO

the sheep got sheared.

not surprised, especially regarding threats. I hold the overseeing organization responsiable for not holding pastors accountable. mandatory audits internal and by external services would have prevented this. He was empowered because no measures are in place. When members ask the wrong questions they are against the pastor or they are forced out of the church. good job member, where much is given much is required.

Glad Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship with God that only comes through Christ. Organized religion is corporate ministries that do business under the guise of Christianity. Where you hear more about prosperity then Salvation, but I guess gullible people come in all shapes sizes and colors, religions, social, and financial status, Madoff showed us that fact.

People have to know the soil they are planting seed in, because all is not good. Study the word, and you cant go wrong.

Check his connections to the notorious Bradley family.

This is my Church home...I dont know what to think...but I do know I will not make any assumptions! Innocent until proven Guilty!! NO JUDGMENT!!!

He is but one man who will be punished as deemed necessary by GOD. No, I am not turned off to religion or church in general. The church is still the storehouse for great works! I am still a faithful believer in Christ!

Wow, may God be with Double Rock family and Pastor Sims. I think its time for some knee mail. God heals all and forgives all who come to him. Former member of Double Rock (1980)

It's not the church that failed, it was a man, without integrity. It was a church system that failed to have checks and balances. The board should be held accountable as well.

I believe in God.

It's religion I'm not too sure about.

well you can't believe everything you hear. what happened to inisent until proven guilty? You have a choice to believe what you want, that's God give but don't try to blame this situation for you own ignorance.

Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone! Check yo self...NONE of us are perfect...that is why we need Jesus, because HE IS EVERYTHING WE ARE NOT! Peace

Very unfortunate, but let's not paint every church with the same brush. There are crooks in every profession. The expectations for pastors and preachers are so much higher, however these people are human. I am not giving them a pass at all, however for every crooked preacher there is one who is not!

This gives the Baptist churches a bad name for a dishonest, Pastor of the church. So sad the guy has no heart or soul when u have to steal $$ from the people of your church that truely gave from their hearts , & fund raisers.
Prayers for this Church !! I belong to the American Baptist Churches in So Calif area ( San Gabriel Valley area ).


Even church leaders need to be held accountable for any monies going out of the church. Obviously there were nothing in place to track what this man was doing, otherwise he would never have gotten away with such a thing. Be trusting but not foolish.

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