Phony grant writer receives 7 1/2 years in prison

Jun 12, 2018

A woman who admitted to ripping off 30 local churches and community groups was sentenced in Erie County Court Tuesday to 7 1/2 years in prison.

Authorities say Christina Sanford Gordon, 47, stole more than $200,000 in fees posing as a grant writing expert and successful fundraiser. She pleaded guilty to grand larceny, scheme to defraud and criminal possession of a forged instrument charges in March.

By falsely reporting state grants to her clients, Gordon allowed some churches to proceed with improvements they would not have undertaken had they known the grants were nonexistent. That has resulted in financial hardships for those organizations.

Gordon signed confessions of judgment for all 35 complainants who had outstanding damages. She has been ordered to pay full restitution to those who lost money. The state Attorney General's Office says she could have received up to 15 years in prison.