Church secretary pleads guilty after AP audit uncovers embezzlement

A former church secretary recently pleaded guilty to eight charges of felony theft after an accounts payable audit revealed she had misappropriated more than $254,000 from the church's general funds account, the Times-Georgian reports.

Reverend Sidney Garner of Bremen-based Victory Fellowship Church lodged a complaint against Dawn Taylor Robinson in February 2010, alleging that she had embezzled between $200,000 and $400,000.

An AP audit was subsequently conducted by the district attorney's office in partnership with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and Robinson was initially charged with 332 counts of theft by taking, although these were later grouped together into eight charges of felony theft by taking.

"These thefts were a significant violation of the trust placed by the church and, frankly, constitute a significant drain on the finances of the church family," said Haralson County Sheriff Eddie Mixon, as quoted by the news source.

According to the media outlet, the church has approximately 250 members. Small organizations are typically at a higher risk of embezzlement because they often don't have the necessary checks and balances in place to protect themselves against misappropriation.

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