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Woman accused of stealing $1 million from local religious order

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A woman is charged with stealing $1 million from a Sugar Land religious organization.

A religious order of priests in Sugar Land is missing more than $1 million. Federal prosecutors said their former bookkeeper stole the money by transferring it to her personal accounts.

Rosina K. Blanco, 38, is now charged with eight counts of wire fraud. Prosecutors said she spent the money on a lavish lifestyle of designer handbags and jewelry.

They even said Blanco bought real estate with the funds.

She appeared in federal court Friday afternoon and showed little emotion.

The Basilian Fathers' Missions of the Catholic Church first noticed the money missing last year. They sued Blanco and tried to recover some of the cash, according to attorney Steve Williard.

Williard said the money had been donated charitably to help the poor in Colombia and Mexico.

"Initial reaction is that it's about time. We're very pleased that the federal government decided to arrest her," said Williard. "Like you said, they've been investigating her for a good seven, eight months now. It was time to pick her up."

Blanco told a federal judge she couldn't afford an attorney. She asked the court to appoint her one. She will remain in custody and is due back in federal court on Tuesday morning.

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