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Defendant claims devil made her do it

EVERETT — It’s always a good cop-out to blame the devil for one’s evil ways.

Colleen R. Okeson, 62, did just that in court last week, when she was on trial for stealing more than $73,000 from her former employer of eight years, the Arlington Free Methodist Church.

Okeson was fired from her job as administrative assistant in April 2008, and it was June 2008 when she turned herself into the Arlington police. Police investigated and learned that she had written 80 checks worth $73,575.18 from January 2005 to February 2008. She allegedly forged the pastor’s name.

The church officials had noticed irregularities in the checks and were investigating when the police got the call from Okeson who is described in court documents as leaving a “teary message” for the police detective, admitting she had stolen money from her former employer.

She said she wanted to pay the money back, but it was not available because she used it to pay household expenses. Okeson told the police that she used the money to cover expenses because she couldn’t stand the thought of losing her home. She admitted forging the name of Pastor Verlin D. Elmore on many checks over a three-year period.

The defendant guessed that Satan had a big part in the the theft, according to court documents.

She was charged with first degree theft, a felony.

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