Former Suffolk church treasurer gets probation on embezzlement charge

| December 4, 2009

A former local attorney who embezzled almost $40,000 from an Episcopal church while acting as its treasurer got three years probation in a plea bargain when she was tried in Circuit Court on Tuesday.

The money was returned to the church less than a year after it disappeared.

Anne Marston Lynch, 34, was treasurer at St. John's Episcopal Church near Chuckatuck in 2007 when a new treasurer took over. The man asked for an audit of the accounts, and evidence was presented that the church was missing $39,786.20.

At least $25,000 of the money was withdrawn from BB&T Bank by Lynch, and no explanation was provided in the records, according to court testimony.

According to testimony, on October 13, 2006, Lynch, while she was treasurer, used the $25,000 to set up a new account in the church's name at another bank. She also transferred about $14,000 from a church savings account to the new account.

Lynch then withdrew from the new account $39,786.20 in a cashier's check payable to a George McGaha. Prosecutor Marilyn Sally said that Lynch, at the time, represented McGaha and was working for the Suffolk law firm of Pretlow & Pretlow.

Later, evidence presented at trial showed that Lynch turned the money over to McGaha, a man she represented in a traffic-accident case and personal-injury claim in Stafford County in 2000.

In June 2007, Lynch paid back St. John's $40,311.20. Of that amount, $525 was interest, Sally said.

Lynch, standing before retired Norfolk Circuit Court Judge Charles E. Poston, tearfully answered the judge's questions in regard to the plea bargain she signed.

The case will be taken under advisement, and Lynch is to go back to court on Dec. 3, 2012, said Sally. If Lynch has a clear record until that time, the charges could be dropped.

Tags: , ,

Category: Church Security

Comments are closed.