Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ex-administrator sentenced for church embezzlement in Indiana


A judge says a former administrator of a Muncie church was brazen in embezzling more than $130,000 over a nine-year period.

The judge sentenced 42-year-old Angela Renee Linder of Yorktown to 17 months in prison during a federal court hearing Tuesday in Indianapolis.

The Star Press reports Linder testified she suffers from bipolar disorder that caused her to go out of control with credit cards from Muncie's Union Chapel United Methodist Church.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gayle Helart says Linder used the church's money for personal expenses ranging from trips and home renovation projects to fees at fertility and weight-loss clinics.

Linder called her actions "appalling and deeply wounding." She apologized to the church and her family for the shame she caused.

Just because an organization is a nonprofit doesn't mean it shouldn't be doing all it can to manage its finances. Especially for agencies that have more restrictive budgets and intend to provide their communities with services, it is critical that internal operations run smoothly to prevent crimes before they occur.
The Star Press reported that a former administrator at a Muncie, Indiana, church was recently sentenced to 17 months in prison on embezzlement charges. Angela Linder stole more than $130,000 from Muncie's Union Chapel United Methodist Church over the course of nine years. She is also required to pay $138,000 in restitution, split between the church and an insurance company that compensated the organization for its losses.
The news provider noted that Linder stole the funds using several credit cards in addition to checks from the church's accounts. The money was used for personal expenses, including home renovations, vacation trips, and visits to fertility and weight loss clinics.
According to Managing Your Church, there are a few major ways that nonprofits can prevent embezzlement from taking a toll on their ability to serve the public. First, it is key that employees are compensated fairly, as one reason workers may misappropriate funds is that they feel they are underpaid. Another important step to take is to make sure internal controls are well-managed, and this includes not leaving just one person in charge of money.
Additionally, using audit solutions is critical. The source explained that leaders should not underestimate the positive effect internal and external audits can have on a nonprofit establishment. External audits are valuable because experts may be able to catch wind of loopholes or compliance issues that employees might not initially notice, while internal audits can be performed more frequently by staff to make sure all procedures and policies are working correctly.

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