Diocese Says Audit Led To Church Theft Investigation

| March 20, 2010

Inside the walls of Waco's St. Jerome Catholic Church Patricia Poehls was supposed to be teaching children Christian morals, but the Diocese of Austin says Poehls was instead stealing money. More than $154,000.

"There is a lot of hurt and there is a lot of pain when something like this happens because, especially when it's one from your own community," Diocese of Austin Communication Director Christian Gonzalez says.

Poehls worked for the church from February 2004 until June 2008. When the church did their annual audit in July, they discovered thousands of dollars were missing.

"This is one of the cases there the audit worked. Because looking at the audit, discrepancies were found and then that led to the investigation" Gonzalez adds.

Waco police conducted the investigation. They say Poehls stole the money from January 2007 until June 2008. She is facing a second degree felony theft charge, but because the theft happened to a non profit agency, that could be bumped up to a first degree felony with much stiffer punishment, a maximum of 99 years in prison.

The Diocese of Austin says they are continuing to pray for both the Poehls' family and the parishioners of St. Jerome.



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Category: Church Security

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