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Louisiana Minister Sentenced for Stealing Federal Benefits

A Louisiana minister has been sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay more than $202,000 in restitution for stealing government funds.

U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser, in a news release, says U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey sentenced 59-year-old Otho Schilling, of Mt. Hermon, on Tuesday. Court records show Schilling, while pastor of a church in Bush, required the church to pay his personal expenses.

These expenses included health and car insurance premiums, car payments and a personal land note in lieu of the church paying him a salary. From 2005 to 2016, Schilling also received Social Security payments in the amount of $1,728 a month.

Strasser says Schilling hid both his earnings and employment from the Social Security Administration and wasn't entitled to benefits he received.