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Pastor Who Embezzled Must Make Restitution

New York

Key point 7-21. Embezzlement refers to the wrongful conversion of funds that are lawfully in one’s possession. Embezzlement is a common occurrence in churches because of weak internal controls.

A New York court affirmed a trial court’s order directing a pastor who embezzled a substantial amount of church funds to make restitution over the pastor’s objection that the amount was excessive and not supported by the evidence. A pastor (the “defendant”) pled guilty to embezzlement and was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $256,488.The defendant appealed, claiming that the restitution award was not supported by the evidence. An appeals court rejected the appeal. The court noted:

[The woman] who became the financial secretary of the church upon defendant’s resignation, testified that ...

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  • March 1, 2019

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