Henrico woman pleads guilty to extorting pastor after sex act

Chris Allen Phillips
Chris Allen Phillips

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A Henrico woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to extorting more than $100,000 from a Hanover pastor.

Tonya Farnsworth was previously charged with two counts of extortion, but prosecutors agreed to drop one charge in exchange for the guilty plea.

Chris Allen Phillips, a pastor at Mechanicsville Advent Christian Church, responded to an ad on Backpage.com and paid Farnsworth $200 for oral sex in December, according to prosecutors. The following month she accused him of stealing $550 from her and demanded he repay her or she would release photos of their encounter.

Over the course of the next three months, she repeatedly asked Phillips for more money. Ultimately, she took more than $100,000 from the pastor, according to prosecutors. Court documents say Phillips went to Farnsworth's Henrico home on West End Drive five to seven days a week from January to March to leave money in an SUV sitting outside the home.

Philip eventually went to police, who caught her in April in Tampa. Farnsworth told officers her boyfriend was behind the plot and would take the money, giving her some to buy pills. The boyfriend has not been charged.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 7.

Phillips was later arrested for embezzling from his church.

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