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?
It is common for ministries to focus on impacting communities outside our U.S. borders. Often, in order to accomplish this, funds need to be moved across our borders to fund these ministry activities. [read more]
As co-laborers for Christ, we should do everything in our power to protect our brothers and sisters serving internationally. Many of them put their lives at risk daily while spreading the gospel.
Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) solicited the help of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) to gather comments to determine if reporting international activity on Form 990 is a concern for organizations. In response, ECFA will issue a letter to the IRS with signatures from organizations who are opposed to the reporting.
Follow this link for more information or to sign the letter.
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.
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?