Friday, April 22, 2011

Tennessee Church Secretary Charged with embezzling more than $200,000 from church

A Bristol woman was charged Thursday with embezzling more than $200,000 from a Johnson City church as the church’s secretary.
Jessica Lynn Tramel, 32, 916 Weaver Pike, Bristol, was charged with 150 counts of forgery, theft of property over $60,000 and identity theft.
Police said in a news release Tramel’s arrest resulted from an investigation into an embezzlement report filed by the Unaka Avenue Baptist Church staff stating that funds were missing from the church bank account. An audit indicated that $229,265 was missing.
According to the police report, the embezzlement occurred during the past three years.
Police said the investigation revealed Tramel, who was employed as the church secretary and whose duties included handling financial records, diverted funds from the checking account by forging checks and making them payable to her.
According to a police report on the embezzlement, Tramel had arranged through the bank to be authorized to transfer funds from the church’s line of credit with the bank to cover the missing checking account funds.
The church staff also told police in the report that the church credit card was nearly maxed out with illicit purchases.
Tramel was terminated from her position with the church prior to her arrest. She reportedly told church staff she used the money for gas and groceries.
Tramel was jailed in the Washington County Detention Center on $210,000 bond pending a Sessions Court hearing Monday.

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