Li Ping, ranked third in the Zhu Shen Jiao, or Supreme Spirit sect, was convicted by a court in Liuyang in the central province of Hunan on March 4, the newspaper said without giving a reason for the delay in reporting the conviction.
The report came four days after about 10,000 followers of a different cult-like movement besieged the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in the biggest protest in Beijing in a decade.
Li was found guilty of helping sect leader Liu Jiaguo defraud followers of 300,000 yuan ($36,000) in cash, tens of thousands of kg (lb) of grain and silver ornaments, the newspaper said.
But prosecutors appealed against the sentence on March 12 on the grounds that it was too light.
They argued that she should also have been convicted of being an accessory to rape for duping three female followers into having sex with Liu, the newspaper said.
The court had not yet ruled on the appeal, it said.
Liu threatened female followers that death and illness would befall their families if they ignored a "sacred summons" to have sex with him, it said. Those who consented were sworn to secrecy.
Liu had sex with 27 female followers, two of whom were aged below 14, the newspaper said. Six bore him children.
Police in Hunan province broke up the sect last year and rounded up more than 20 members.
Zhu Shen Jiao, one of China's biggest religious cults with 10,000 members, called for the overthrow of a "secular nation" and the establishment of a "spiritual nation," according to state media.
It proposed buying firearms to stage an armed rebellion.
Liu, a 34-year-old peasant from the central province of Anhui, is on trial in Xiangtang city in Hunan province, a court official said. He declined to provide further details.
President Jiang Zemin declared war on cults in January and called for stability in rural areas.