Former Church Treasurer Accused Of Stealing $200K

| July 9, 2010

LANCASTER, Ohio — A longtime employee accused of pocketing money from a church on Thursday shocked the worshippers and the community the church served.

Patricia Betts was accused of taking more than $200,000 from First United Methodist Church, 10TV's Ashleigh Barry reported.

The Fairfield County prosecutor said Betts, 49, forged checks for several years.

Pastor Robert McDowell said that Betts served as the church's treasurer for nine years, but was fired in December.

McDowell said the alleged theft left the congregation with a budget deficit of $120,000, Barry reported.

Betts was charged with three felony counts of theft.

She could not be reached for comment, but some of her neighbors said they were stunned by the charges.

"I am dumbfounded, I would never think of anybody doing something like this," said Betts' neighbor John Brown. "I don't understand."

Betts has a court date next week. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

McDowell sent a letter to his congregation, telling them about what happened and urging them to keep the faith as the church tries to rebound.

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Category: Church Security

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