by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Embezzlement

§ 7.21
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.

1. IN GENERAL

As hard as it may be to believe, embezzlement is a relatively common occurrence in churches. As a result, it is important for church leaders to take this risk seriously.

2. DEFINITION OF EMBEZZLEMENT

The definition of embezzlement varies slightly from state to state, but in general it refers to the wrongful conversion of property that is lawfully in your possession. The idea is that someone has legal control or custody of property or funds, and then decides to convert the property or funds to his or her own personal use.

Most people who embezzle funds insist that they intended to pay the money back and were simply "borrowing" the funds temporarily. An intent to pay back embezzled ...

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