Church Legal Center
Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA
2429 Central Avenue, Suite 207
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
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727-388-5097
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Minister Receives 10 years in Prison for Embezzlement

Yesterday, a former minister of Houston’s First Baptist church was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing $800,000.00 from his church. His theft spanned over a period of seven years.

While I represent churches for embezzlement it never ceases to amaze me how it continues to happen. Often times this crime can be prevented with proper internal controls and oversight.

Allow this to be reminder of the legal and fiduciary responsibilities you have as a church leader, for all the donations you receive. Donors expect their money to be kept safe and used for its general or designated nonprofit purpose.

If you have discovered suspicious financial activity at your church please call me. It is critical that the leadership deals it swiftly and appropriately. You do not want the media or your congregation to hear about this and then discover you did little or nothing about it. Worse yet-sweeping it under the rug believing the “Board knows about it” and “everything will be OK.” It will not be.

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