Ex-church employee stands accused of embezzling funds

There are certain organizations that don't think of themselves as businesses and yet come into contact with money on a daily basis. Churches and other religious institutions are one of the clearest examples of this kind of operation. While they have a primary objective that isn't monetary, they still have operating costs, as well as the accompanying cash flow and accounting needs. Without accounts payable audits, religious organizations are just as susceptible to fraud as for-profit companies.

According to the Daily Times News, 35-year-old Stephanie Anne Kligge of Hatfield, Pa., was recently charged with receiving stolen property, theft and misapplication of entrusted property. Allegedly, Kligge embezzled more than $80,000 in funds belonging to Emmanuel Evangelical Congre​gational Church, where she formerly worked as treasurer, during an 11-month span beginning in Septem​ber 2012.

Kligge's alleged misuse of funds is twofold, the news source noted. She's been accused of stealing more than $60,000 by withdrawing money from church accounts without authorization, as well as by using for personal benefit $20,000 in gift cards intended for a church fundraiser.

"Rather than give those gift cards to the church, the allegation is she kept those gift cards for herself and kept them for her own personal use without authorization," explained Jeremy Abidiwan-Lupo, the assistant district attorney for Pa.'s Montgomery County, according to the source.

The Philadelphia Inquirer noted that the accused allegedly hid her scheme by keeping two sets of books.

"To conceal her crimes, the defendant provided the church with false monthly treasure reports indicating a balance of over $100,000, while in reality, the defendant drained the account leaving only $36.11 remaining," the statement said, according to the news source.

While churches will likely never think of themselves as businesses, per se, they can help prevent abuses like those of which Kligge is accused by implementing audit solutions so as to increase financial oversight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prove You're Human * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.