Woman charged with embezzling $186,000 from Zion UCC

| July 2, 2010

A former employee has been charged with embezzling $186,000 from a Thomasville church over a five-year period.

Kathy Sechriest, 53, of 206 Hasty School Road, Thomasville, is charged with embezzlement greater than $100,000, accused of stealing the money from Zion United Church of Christ at 130 Hasty School Road. Sechriest was released after being given a $100,000 unsecured bond.

According to an arrest warrant filed in the Davidson County Clerk of Court's office, Sechriest embezzled the money between Jan. 1, 2005, and Jan. 19, 2010, while an employee of the church.

In a letter filed with the warrant, Assistant District Attorney Alan Martin wrote to Detective Sam Rabon of the Davidson County Sheriff's Office saying that Sechriest was not a flight risk and recommended a $100,000 bond. A magistrate noted on the warrant that the $100,000 bond was “per Judge (April) Wood.”

Stipulations to Sechriest's release state that she “not harass, assault or threaten members of Zion United Church of Christ.”

Sechriest's court date is July 21.

Calls from The Dispatch to Sechriest and Zion United Church of Christ were not immediately returned Thursday morning.

Davidson County Sheriff David Grice declined to discuss specifics of the charges against Sechriest, but said the case is one that proves the need for strong oversight of matters relating to finances, even among nonprofits like churches or booster clubs.

“They need a committee that routinely reviews business transactions,” Grice said. “I've seen this type situation repeatedly, where people in charge of money are not always honest. Anytime you're dealing with money, it has to be treated business-like. Churches tend to be too trusting, and that's not always a good thing.”



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Category: Church Security