Woman Pleads Guilty to Church Scam

Claimed to be a grantwriter to help churches get funding

Tom Puckett
March 22, 2018 - 3:21 pm

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) A week after she was charged with defrauding churches and other non-profit organizations, a Buffalo woman pleads guilty.

Christina Sanford Gordon, 47, admitted to stealing more than $200,000 from Buffalo churches and non-profit organizations. Churches agreed to pay her money in exchange for New York State grants. The churches paid their half, but Gordon allegedly pocketed the money without filing any grant.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Gordon – through a sophisticated scheme – convinced over 30 organizations that she had applied for and obtained state-awarded grants. However, an investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s office found that Gordon never actually applied for or obtained any grants. Instead, she allegedly spent the money the community groups paid her for supposed grant writing services on lavish personal expenses, including beauty treatments, cruises, jewelry, and apparel.

“Last week, we announced criminal charges and a civil lawsuit against Christina Sanford Gordon for her despicable scheme to prey on Buffalo churches and community organizations, Today, swift justice was served – with Gordon pleading guilty and facing significant prison time for her scam,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Let this be a clear message to anyone who tries to defraud New Yorkers: we will find you, and we will prosecute you. I urge all New Yorkers who believe they may have been defrauded by Gordon or anyone else to contact my office.”

Gordon pleaded guilty before Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree. Gordon was ordered to pay full restitution to those she defrauded, and signed confessions of judgment for all 35 complainants who have outstanding damages. She was immediately remanded to prison and will be sentenced on May 4, 2018 to 7 ½ to 15 years in prison.

Schneiderman adds a few anonymous donors came forward to provide the funds to complete the roof of Good Shepherd Temple Church and repairs are being done. 

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