Church Paster Charged with Embezzlement

Chris Allen Phillips, a pastor at Mechanicsville Advent Christian Church, was arrested and charged with felony embezzlement on March 25, 2013.  He is being accused of embezzling over $80,000 from his own church in Hanover County.  Phillips was released on a $6,000 personal recognizance bond and was ordered to return for his court appearance on June 5th.  An elder of the church reported that Chris Phillips has gone on a leave of absence without pay as the church’s youth pastor.

Phillips has also been linked to the arrest of Tonya Farnsworth.    An ongoing investigation alleges that some of the embezzled funds were used in an attempt to cover up a sex scandal involving Farnsworth.  According to the Richard Times-Dispatch, court documents allege Phillips paid Farnsworth $200 for oral sex last December.

The dates of the church embezzlement align with the dates that Hanover investigators allege in a search warrant that a male victim of Farnsworth received instructions “five to seven days a week from early January 2013 to late March 2013” to place money in a black Lincoln Navigator.  The vehicle is still in the front yard of Farnsworth’s home on West End Drive in Henrico according to the warrant.

Hanover authorities say the investigation is still ongoing.

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