by Jac La Tour

An elder or usher or staff member at your church voluntarily confesses to embezzling church funds. How do you respond?

“In some church embezzlement cases, a person who has stolen church funds will voluntarily confess—usually out of a fear that he or she is about to be caught. Often, the embezzler will confess in order to prevent the church from turning the case over to the IRS, the police, or to a CPA firm. Embezzlers believe they will receive better treatment from their own church than from the government.”

This excerpt is from a recent Your Church blog by legal expert Richard R. Hammar, who tackles this thorny question objectively and biblically. To learn more, check out “If an Embezzler Confesses.”

How would your church respond?

by Jac La Tour

I posted a blog on May 3 about a serious form of online fraud called account takeover fraud. An Iowa church appears to be one of the latest victims, to the tune of $660,000.

In a Your Church blog post titled Cyber Crime: Coming to a Church Near You, Matt Brannaugh tells the story, then offers six tips for avoiding a similar attack on your church. One that bears special mention is dual controls. From my earlier post, “This means that if one person authorizes creation of a payment file, a second person must authorize release of that file.”

At ECCU, we feel so strongly about the importance of dual controls that we require ministries to implement it when they set up their online banking.

For more information about how to protect your ministry’s information and funds, you can read our white paper Handling Cash: A Common-Sense Approach to Securing Your Ministry’s Most Liquid Asset.

by Jac La Tour

I know it seems like we keep talking about fraud in the church. You’re probably thinking, “Can we move on to something more…positive?” Well, addressing fraud in the church, while never fun, is beneficial. 

Vonna Laue of CapinCrouse LLP just blogged “The Top Three Reasons Fraud Happens in the Church.” She credits lack of segregation of duties, misplaced trust, and rapid change as catalysts for fraud. 

Laue states, “Trust is not a sufficient strategy for protecting the church’s assets.” 

Do any of these reasons surprise you? What best practices do you have in place at your ministry to prevent fraud?

by Susan Rushing

Most everyone knows that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This adage is certainly true when combating banking fraud. Prevention is especially important when dealing with a type of fraud known as “corporate account takeover.” Ignore prevention and your ministry could end up dealing with financial loss, negative publicity, and recovery efforts that divert time from kingdom work. [read more]

by Jac La Tour

Wouldn’t it be great if we never had to worry about dishonesty in the church? Unfortunately, the church is not exempt from becoming the victim of wrongdoing. That’s why it is important to take appropriate measures to ensure that your church isn’t thrust into a negative spotlight resulting in a lost testimony to the world.

Keith Hamilton’s article 10 Ways to Prevent the Embezzlement of Church Funds outlines ten practical and easy to implement steps. From conducting an annual financial review to tracking giving patterns over time, Hamilton illustrates how your church can practice good financial accountability.

What steps is your church taking to prevent embezzlement and other types of fraud?