Candidate accused of embezzling from church turns self into police

Deputies: Dan Durfey used church money to fund political campaign

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POINCIANA, Fla. - A candidate running for Osceola County Clerk of Court who is accused of stealing money from a church turned himself in to police on Sunday.

Oliver "Dan" Durfey turned himself into the Hardee County Sheriff's Office about 12:08 a.m. Sunday. He was released from jail after posting $21,000 bond.

On Friday, a Polk County judge has issued an arrest warrant Durfey, who is accused of embezzling more than $56,000 from the First Baptist Church of Poinciana. Durfey worked as a church administrator there for about two years, according to Pastor Jim Rogers.

Polk County Sheriff's investigators said another church worker found suspicious documents in Durfey's trash can. Church officials later discovered that Durfey had secretly obtained a debit card linked to the church's checking and savings accounts without authorization, according to the arrest affidavit.

Over a two year period, authorities said Durfey withdrew thousands of dollars in cash and illegally rang up purchases at restaurants, grocery stores, and hotels. He also bought a laptop computer, records showed.

Deputies said Durfey even used stolen church money for his political campaign, spending more than $500 to reserve booths with the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce.

Durfey has a lengthy rap sheet dating back to 1976, with arrests for armed robbery, car theft, and fraud, according to records provided by the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

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