Highland Co. pastor admits theft from church

James Blaine (Source: Highland County Sheriff's Office)
James Blaine (Source: Highland County Sheriff's Office)

HILLSBORO, Ohio (AP) - A former pastor has pleaded guilty to charges that he stole money from Highland County church.

Sixty-one-year-old James Blaine will face up to six years in prison when sentenced in Hillsboro on Oct. 1. Blaine pleaded guilty to a count of forgery and one count of aggravated theft Wednesday in Highland County court.

Prosecutors dropped 15 other counts in a plea deal. Prosecutors also will seek up to $250,000 in restitution payments.

They say board members of the Good Shepherd Church near Greenfield approved working out an agreement with Blaine.

Sheriff's investigators say Blaine forged names and documents that were then used to obtain money in the church's name for his personal use. Blaine declined to comment Friday.

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