Guard Against Embezzlement

Advice and resources to combat a growing problem.

At first glance, the two churches don't have much in common. One is a large, historic congregation, in Washington, DC. The other, a smaller, much younger congre gation in a small Virginia town. Big differences, right? That changed in late December, when the former finance director of the DC church was arrested and charged with stealing more than $500,000 from that congregation during a six-year span. And less than a week later, the former bookkeeper of the Virginia church was accused of stealing about $300,000 over five years.

Both suspects used the money for big-ticket purchases—real estate, cars, jewelry, and furniture—according to the charges filed.

Embezzlement is on the rise in churches of all sizes. One major church insurer logged 32 embezzlement-related claims in 2009, up 12.5 percent from its recent annual averages. "Regrettably, financial misconduct tends to be more predominant in economic down times," says David Middlebrook, a Texas-based attorney specializing in church ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
God, Money, and the Pastor
God, Money, and the Pastor
From the Magazine
Paul’s Most Beloved Letter Was Entrusted to a Woman
Paul’s Most Beloved Letter Was Entrusted to a Woman
Meet Phoebe, the first interpreter of Romans.
Editor's Pick
How Culture Shapes Sermons
How Culture Shapes Sermons
Recent books on culturally distinct preaching challenge misconceptions and equip diverse pastors to better address a multiethnic world.
close