Bookkeeper In Florida Episcopal Church embezzled more than $500,000

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bookkeeper for Episcopal Church of the Advent turned herself in Thursday on charges she embezzled $512,000 from the church.

Investigators with the Leon County Sheriff's Office said Rosanne Stone, 50, took the money from three church accounts over four years. She was arrested on charges of grand theft and money laundering. She was released from the county jail on $1,000 bail.

Sgt. James McQuaig said it was possibly the biggest embezzlement case the Sheriff's Office has ever seen. He said Stone used the money to buy antiques, jewelry, furniture, silverware, lamps and glassware on eBay.

"We counted and literally have hundreds of items seized as evidence," McQuaig said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes

9 Comments
Posted February 26, 2008 at 12:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

PB Browning and 815 come to mind again, somehow… .

February 26, 1:45 pm | [comment link]
2. Brad M wrote:

Why would a diocese allow any parish to go without an annual audit, if not by an outside auditor, then at least by a parish committee.

February 26, 1:50 pm | [comment link]
3. Violent Papist wrote:

This sort of thing can happen even with annual audits if the bookkeeper - or whoever else has access to funds - is clever enough.  I’ve seen it happen and it ain’t pretty.

February 26, 2:18 pm | [comment link]
4. Brad M wrote:

Why make it so easy, though?  Bet the bookkeeper wished she had started sooner now!

February 26, 2:30 pm | [comment link]
5. mugsie wrote:

Let’s just all pray for her soul. She’s come to repentance here. That is what God is calling all of us to do.

Mugsie

February 26, 3:00 pm | [comment link]
6. libraryjim wrote:

It’s nice to see the case from this posting closed.  Now the healing can begin.

February 26, 3:13 pm | [comment link]
7. John316 wrote:

It seems that this church could have afforded an audit, but smaller churches are unable to budget for audits.  It’s expensive.

February 26, 4:01 pm | [comment link]
8. julia wrote:

Local reports indicate that most of the money was social security money and that the bookkeeper did not transmit w-2’s to the SSA—only to the IRS who tracks income tax withholding.  There is a day school involved which accounts for that kind of money being available.  The actual church itself did not have large amounts and internal reviews were done by cpa’s in the congregation, supposedly with diocesan approval.  The clergy and leadership of the congregation in place during most of this time left to form another “anglican” expression and at the time of this exit an outside audit which included 2003 and 2004 was in process.  Problem was she kept two sets of books.  Because she was transferring the social security money out of church account the bank verifications and contribution statements would not necessarily point to any problems.  The church I attend has outside audits but I am not aware that verifications of social security are routinely done.  If quarterly tax reports were in file then it would not be necessarily obvious that those monies were not transmitted properly.  This may only be a “piece” of the pie but it certainly points to some problem areas of internal control that we should all be aware of.

February 26, 4:20 pm | [comment link]
9. Cousin Vinnie wrote:

Wow.  That’s over 100 G’s per year, more than a thou a month. My church would have missed that kind of money the first year—probably the first two months.  What kind of budget allows half a mil to go out the back door over four years?

February 26, 11:42 pm | [comment link]
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