A 72-year-old Indiana woman received her sentence for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from St. Matthew Parish, which oversees St. Matthew Catholic Church and School in Indianapolis.
Marie Carson pleaded guilty to wire fraud to the tune of almost $600,000.
She was sentenced to two years in federal prison and two years of probation once her prison time has been served. Carson must also pay back the $573,836.59 to the church from which she stole it.
Carson had been the money handler for the church for 13 years and was the only one responsible for the church's finances.
As reported by Fox News, "Carson was the sole staff member responsible for processing checks received from parishioners and conducting financial transactions on behalf of the church and school for over a decade, court documents said. From 2008 to 2021, she illegally transferred at least $573,836.59."
The amount stolen is likely to be much higher than what is currently known, officials said, since Carson admitted to the Department of Justice that she began her scam back in 2004.
As reported by FOX59 in Indianapolis, Carson was discovered when she took leave and her replacement noticed something odd with the accounting:
"Authorities explained that Carson's scheme was exposed in November of 2021 while she was on leave. Her temporary replacement noticed suspicious transfers from the parish's gaming account to an external bank account. Further investigation led to the discovery of over $289,000 in transfers to multiple accounts, including a phantom account created in the church's name."
"For more than 13 years, this defendant abused her position of trust to embezzle money from parishioners intended for a church and school," said Zachary A. Myers, U. S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. "Her greed and desire for lavish vacations outweighed her interest in following the dictates of our criminal laws and the teachings of her church, 'thou shalt not steal.'"
FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton said Carson's plan was "fueled by pure greed" and that she betrayed the trust the church put in her for the sole purpose of inflating her bank account.
Had Carson paid any attention to the sermons preached at her church, she would have known sins of this nature get revealed, and the perpetrators are caught.
John 3:20 says, "For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."
American society has seen an increase in crimes being committed by those in positions of power within churches. This may simply be due to the 24/7 access to media exposing crimes that have gone on for decades. However, Satan has a target on the church, and he is influencing those who do not have a foundation built upon Jesus to attack believers.
Christians must live with situational awareness in the world. Jesus warned His own disciples in Matthew 10:16, "Look, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves."
Armed with the knowledge that worldly forces are in fact targeting them, Christians need to arm themselves with the Word of God and commit to spiritual warfare against the enemy that wants to steal, kill and destroy them and everything God has created, all while remaining spotless witnesses to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and His victory over death on the cross.
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James Lasher is staff writer for Charisma Media.
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