Church rocked by allegation of theft

| June 13, 2011

Apparently, 44-year-old Beth Boger had quite a good scheme going.

For nearly five years, according to court documents, Boger, the bookkeeper for St. Joseph Catholic Church in Garrett, used the church’s funds to support her own lifestyle, taking more than $364,000 for herself from June 2004 to April 2009.

In May, a U.S. District Court grand jury in South Bend indicted the Garrett woman on 10 counts, ranging from wire fraud to tax evasion.

Like any business or non-profit, churches are not immune to internal thefts and embezzlement, something that may have gotten worse as the economy went sour. And like a business, churches need to protect themselves from such crimes, experts said.

If victimized, the churches must work to regain the trust of their congregation, as well as replacing what was taken.

Last week, Boger, a demure woman with glasses and short auburn hair, appeared before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Roger Cosbey in Fort Wayne for an initial hearing on the charges, which could put her behind bars for years.

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