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Guerneville woman charged in Santa Rosa church embezzlement postpones plea

A Guerneville woman accused of embezzling more than $712,000 from a Santa Rosa church postponed entering a plea during a court appearance Tuesday morning.

Eleanor Jane Zapanta, 51, waived her right to a preliminary hearing so that settlement talks could continue between her attorney and the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office prosecutor.

Zapanta, who has remained in custody since her September arrest, faces a maximum of 12 years in state prison. Sources close to the case said she hopes for an agreement with the judge that would limit her sentence to three years in exchange for a plea.

In court Tuesday, Judge Ken Gnoss set a new enter-of-plea hearing for 8:30 a.m. Dec. 6.

Investigators said Zapanta wrote about 250 unauthorized checks to herself from 2004 to 2010 while working as the business manager of the Center for Spiritual Living on Occidental Road.


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