Protecting Against Embezzlement of Church Funds
What church leaders should do to prevent internal theft.

Coleman v. State, 2006 WL 3513407 (Miss. 2006)

Background. Two deacons were responsible for collecting offerings from church members, depositing the funds into the church's bank account, and paying for authorized maintenance and repairs to the church building and facilities. Both deacons were authorized to sign checks individually, without the safeguard of requiring two signatories. They were not, however, authorized to make expenditures without the approval of the members, which was determined at meetings held after church services.

Over the course of six months, one of the deacons (the "defendant") wrote checks totaling $1,600 to himself, with no documentation showing that he used the funds to pay for expenditures authorized by the congregation. When the other deacon became aware of the defendant's behavior, he notified law enforcement officials. An investigation was initiated that resulted in the indictment of the defendant for embezzlement. The indictment stated:

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