The good book teaches us not to steal. In fact, it’s one of God’s pet peeves. So much so that it’s prominently listed in the Ten Commandments. That should be an easy enough request, yet so many people can’t seem to NOT steal. Stealing is bad regardless of the context or reason, and white collar is as egregious as stealing a kid’s piggy bank, but one particular form of theft stands out. In fact, you’ll probably have a few extra questions to answer in the afterlife. Stealing from the church is disgusting and undermines organized religion in the eyes of non-religious people. And let’s be honest, nothing is as annoying as an atheist trashing religion because of a financial scandal. Recently, an Indiana woman got hard time for stealing from her church to the tune of a half million bucks, likely more. Check this out.
A 72-year-old Indiana woman will spend two years in federal prison after transferring nearly $574,000 from a Catholic Church and its associated school to her personal accounts for gambling and month-long vacations.
The Department of Justice announced Monday that Marie Carson, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty to wire fraud after 13 years of handling money as a business manager for the parish. FOX 59 Indianapolis identified the parish as Saint Matthew Catholic Church and School.
72-year-old Marie Carson, Indianapolis, was sentenced to 2 years in federal prison for a 13-year-long scheme to embezzle nearly $600,000 from the Catholic church and school where she was the business manager. https://t.co/SqJvwH58Fm pic.twitter.com/ugs0kfeyJu
— FBI Indianapolis (@FBIIndianapolis) February 13, 2023
Thirteen years is a long time to be absconding money from the church. Odds are the real number is far north of $574,000. The fact that she and her husband were using the money for vacations and gambling makes the crime even more salacious. Regardless of what they used the ill-gotten cash for, she took money people GAVE, intended to fund the church and the works they do in the community and used it for their own greed. She is lucky to just get two years.
Carson was the sole staff member responsible for processing checks received from parishioners and conducting financial transactions on behalf of the church and school for over a decade, court documents said. From 2008 to 2021, she illegally transferred at least $573,836.59.
The theft was exposed in November 2021 when Carson was on leave from her position, and her temporary replacement noticed suspicious transfers from the parish’s gaming account to an external bank account, according to the DOJ.
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Further investigation into the transactions led to the discovery of over $289,000 moved into multiple accounts, including a phantom account in the church’s name.
Carson was reportedly able to maintain the scheme for so long because she was making false entries into a database used by the parish to track payments.
The DOJ said Carson and her husband used a “significant amount of money” for casino gambling and an annual, month-long vacation to Florida.
It just isn’t worth it. We are all weak and human, and leaving one person in charge of the money is likely a mistake the church won’t make again, but nothing can excuse the greedy nature of the crime. Carson will be on probation for two more years after serving her sentence and must repay what she stole. Not to mention the extra line of questions at the Pearly Gates.