Rogersville church embezzlement case under investigation

| April 12, 2010

ROGERSVILLE — Rogersville police confirmed Monday there is an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of thousands of dollars from a local church by one of its members.

Nearly three weeks ago, The Bridge Baptist Church on East Main Street in Rogersville began suspecting that a member serving as the church’s accountant was embezzling thousands of dollars from the church.

Rogersville Police Department Detective Charlie Gibson told the Times-News Monday he has one suspect, although the investigation is far from over and criminal charges aren’t expected in the near future.

Rogersville is a small town, and the suspect’s name is widely known in the community, but the Times-News won’t release the name unless the suspect is formally charged.

“I’ve got a suspect, but I’ve been learning that there may be others,” Gibson said. “It’s going to take me some time because the volume of (missing funds) alone is really going to make me work.”

No solid figure has been released regarding the amount of money missing. The Bridge Baptist Church Pastor Bobby Joe Hancock told the Times-News Monday his financial team has withheld the figure from him so it doesn’t affect his ability to minister to the suspect and the suspect’s family.

One church member who asked not to be identified told the Times-News that as of Monday the figure was approaching $90,000.

“I don’t really have a figure yet because it’s growing every day,” Gibson said. “It’s in the thousands.”

The alleged thefts came to light after bills marked as paid in church ledgers came back as unpaid, including monthly dues to the Southern Baptist Association.

Hancock said he loves the accused and is praying for that person and family.

“I do love these people, and I forgive (the suspect),” Hancock said. “It’s just a bad situation. We forgive, and our church is going to be all right. We’re just relying on God right now.

“(The suspect) has already been hurt enough, and the church doesn’t want (that person) to be hurt any more. Nobody does.”

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Category: Church Security

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