One of the biggest challenges of embezzlement in a church setting is determining how to respond when theft is discovered. Here are six steps that may help you navigate the disturbing discovery that your church has been embezzled:
- Identify the amount of the loss. The church's first priority is to deal with the embezzled funds and to understand the details of the loss. Ask questions like: Was only one person involved? What's the time frame for fraud—did it occur long ago, or is it still going on? Is the embezzlement limited to a petty cash fund? Do we have a way to determine how much has been embezzled? Once you know the details of the loss you are in a better position to decide whether you need outside help or if church staff can handle the situation.
- Insurance coverage. Determine if the organization has any insurance to cover the loss. If so, the question of legal action may be in the hands of the insurance carrier.