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GBI investigating thousands missing from church accounts

Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 5:37 PM
Last updated Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 3:07 AM
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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the possible embezzlement of more than $128,000 from a Baptist church in Lincoln County, law enforcement officials said Friday.

Double Branches Baptist Church in Lincolnton reported the missing money to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 30, according to an incident report.

The discovery resulted from an internal investigation by church officials into failures to pay a bank note on a church-owned vehicle, the report stated. Officials told police that money was found to be missing from the church’s cemetery fund, its Georgia Baptist Convention fund and other accounts.

They also reported that “a great deal of money” had been used for personal gain and that unauthorized credit cards had been acquired in the church’s name.

A church financial officer has resigned a position he held for 16 years, the report said.

No arrests had been made as of Friday, officials said.

GBI special agent in charge Mike Ayers said the sheriff’s office had turned over the case to his agency. Ayers said he had been waiting on the results of a forensic audit of bank accounts to be completed before proceeding with the investigation. He said that audit was delivered to him Friday.

“We are trying to digest all of this information before moving forward,” he said.

Lincoln County Sheriff Gerald Lawson said that he couldn’t discuss case details but that news of the investigation had begun to ripple through the community.

“This is a big deal here,” Lawson said. “A lot of people are going to be hurt.”

Comments (8) Add comment
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soldout
1280
Points
soldout 10/05/12 - 07:04 pm
3
0
churches and money

On the TV program "American Greed" one FBI agent said he had seen more money stolen in churches than in any other type organization in his career. Very sad. There is lots of trust in a church as it should be but lots of opportunity for the weak of heart.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 10/05/12 - 07:26 pm
5
0
Not a new story.

Many churches trust too much. Good business provides for checks and balances. The person who writes the checks does not sign them, two signatures required and a different person who reconciles the bank statements. Spread the responsibility and audit by independent firms annually.

YeCats
10785
Points
YeCats 10/05/12 - 10:10 pm
2
0
"Let all things be done

"Let all things be done decently and in order." - 1 Corinth 14:40

Little Lamb
46022
Points
Little Lamb 10/06/12 - 06:59 am
2
0
Whooooo

That is some good advice there, YeCats.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 10/06/12 - 10:36 am
2
0
Good Advice

...and Little Lamb, there is sooooooooo much more good advice in that Good Book!

YeCats
10785
Points
YeCats 10/06/12 - 02:37 pm
1
0
Thanks LL, yet I know, that

Thanks LL, yet I know, that you know I'm not the originator.

I was using it to agree with Willow's model of how the Church should handle it's affairs. All of our matters should be handle above reproach.

scoopdedoop64
2366
Points
scoopdedoop64 10/08/12 - 06:27 pm
0
0
Sometimes

Sometimes these older country churches don't move too quickly into how accounting practices should be done. Some still don't use computers and have everything on handwritten ledgers with treasurers having no oversight and accountability. It is very sad as these situations place a bad light on the church.

yu nah ee tah
31
Points
yu nah ee tah 10/12/12 - 06:15 pm
0
0
And now we have an arrest.

And now we have an arrest. Theft by taking, more. This will put the bad light where it needs to be.

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