$l.5M embezzlement rallies church’s faith

| January 22, 2012

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (BP) — First Baptist Church in a Tennessee county seat now resonates with the "Trust, but verify" outlook of former President Ronald Reagan.

Sadly, First Baptist's experience stems from the betrayal of trust by a 47-year staff member.

In 2010, the Morristown church learned that $147,000 presumably sent to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions had not been received by the International Mission Board.

Further investigation revealed that five payments (approximately $120,000) budgeted by the church to the Tennessee Baptist Convention for the Cooperative Program missions and ministry had not been received there.

First Baptist also discovered checks stashed away in a drawer that had been written to pay bills.

The issue revolved around the trust placed in former financial secretary Barbara Whitt. "Our people had grown up with her. She was like an institution here," pastor Dean Haun said.

The church employed a forensic auditor to examine how long the embezzlement had been occurring.

 

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Category: Church Security

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