A Guerneville woman suspected of embezzling $712,000 from a Santa Rosa church turned herself in Monday morning and was being held on $1 million bail.
Eleanor Zapanta, 51, the former business manager at the Center for Spiritual Living, had been wanted since prosecutors filed a 14-count criminal complaint against her last week.
Under an arrangement with her lawyer, Richard Scott, she appeared before a Sonoma County judge and was taken into custody.
Scott said he would visit Zapanta and review the charges before her Wednesday arraignment.
"She's a good person and feels terrible about the accusations against her," Scott said. "She's said to me she wants to work hard to resolve this."
Zapanta is accused of stealing the money from 2004 to 2010 through more than 250 unauthorized check transactions.
She's charged with seven felony counts of grand theft by an employee, seven counts of forging business documents and a white-collar crime enhancement alleging fraud in excess of $500,000.
She faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted, said Bill Brockley, chief deputy district attorney.
Scott said Zapanta had been willing to surrender since last week but was awaiting the formal filing of charges following a long investigation, Scott said.
Contrary to rumors, she had not fled the area, he said.
"She was willing from Day 1 to turn herself in," Scott said. "She wasn't hiding from anybody."
He said the single mother of adult children was employed by the church for about the past 10 years.
Scott said he will seek a reduced bail for Zapanta at the next hearing. It was unclear if she would enter a plea.
Meanwhile, the leader of the 1,000-member Occidental Road center remained silent on the theft. The Rev. Edward Viljoen declined to comment when asked about Zapanta's surrender Monday afternoon in the doorway to church offices.
In a previous interview for a story on the center, he said the center has a $1.2 million annual budget comprised mostly of member donations.
Suzanne Sackett, a seven-year member who was heading to the parking lot Monday after an appointment at the center, said Viljoen discussed the case in his Sunday service.
"The whole talk yesterday was about healing and right actions," Sackett said.
She said she knew Zapanta and had no ill thoughts about her. She couldn't say how others felt.
"This is a beautiful place that's very nurturing and loving … and I loved Eleanor," Sackett said. "I still do."