The founder of a Singapore church and five other church leaders were found guilty of using about 50 million Singapore dollars ($36 million) to boost the founder's wife's singing career, then cover up the crime.

The court said founder Kong Hee and all his co-accused misused the building fund of City Harvest Church by lending millions to the company that managed his wife Ho Yeow Sun, with no reasonable expectation that her recordings would make enough money to repay the bonds, The Straits Times reported.

That made them guilty of criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts, the Times said. The first offence is punishable with a life sentence, or up to 20 years in prison and a fine. The second carries a maximum of 10 years in jail, a fine or both, according to the newspaper. Sentencing hasn't been scheduled. 

Kong's lawyer said they would study whether they will appeal. An appeal would extend a drama that started in 2003, when the allegations were first made, though trial only began in 2013.

City Harvest Church says it is one of the largest congregations in Asia, claiming 18,000 members in its 2013 annual report.

Other Singapore religious figures have been convicted of fraud in the past --  a priest was found guilty of embezzling 5.1 million Singapore dollars in 2004, a school principal was found guilty of stealing 67,700 Singapore dollars in 2013 and a hospital chief executive was found guilty of misappropriating 50,000 Singapore dollars in 2009, Yahoo News reported earlier this month.