Jump directly to the Content

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 ...

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Skye Jethani: Tortured Conscience
Skye Jethani: Tortured Conscience
A new survey shows most churchgoers support torture. What should pastors say?
From the Magazine
I Wanted a Bigger God Than My Hindu Guru Offered
I Wanted a Bigger God Than My Hindu Guru Offered
As my doubts about his teachings grew, so did a secret fascination with Jesus.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.