The Price of Embezzlement
Separate thefts can result in a longer jail sentence.

Bragg v. Commonwealth (Va. App. 2004)

Background. David was a volunteer treasurer at his church. His duties allowed him to write and sign checks on behalf of the church and reconcile the church's bank accounts. David began using church funds to pay a number of personal debts, including his mortgage, his cell phone bill, a car loan, and other personal expenses. On several occasions, he made the checks payable to himself and indicated "payroll" on the checks. After the end of his two-year term as treasurer, his successor discovered the discrepancies in the church's accounts. It was later determined that 142 checks, worth $82,130, had been "written outside the scope of David's authority and for his benefit." The church informed the police.

David admitted to the police that he had embezzled money from the church to pay personal bills. He explained that he began embezzling the church's money when his income from his employment dropped by $30,000 and he began to have financial difficulty. He used his position as treasurer of the church to embezzle the church's funds to pay his bills and support his lifestyle. He stated, "I was broke. I had no money. I was getting ready to lose everything." He took the church funds "to continue living."

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Posted: May 2, 2005
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