TX Church employee faces up to 30 years in prison for embezzlement over $ 450,000 | Hemant Mehta | Sympathetic atheist
For more than five years, until 2018, Lisa Dawn Stabeno worked as an Account Manager for Church on the Rock in Texas as part of their “Dream center. Her job was to help the “underserved people” in her town.
The indictment says she used church money, “to supplement her business income; pay for personal expenses, including restaurant meals and spa services; and pay vacations to various destinations including Disney Land, LegoLand, Six Flags over Texas and Las Vegas. “
She also used church funds to cover personal medical bills, rent, a car loan, and her family’s credit card debt. She also used this money to pay the employees who worked in her bakery.
In total, she took over $ 450,000 of church money intended to help the poor and used it as her personal slush fund. Now, after accepting a plea deal, she risks up to 30 years in prison in addition to a fine of up to $ 1 million.
“Following Stebeno’s embezzlement, the church struggled to pay its expenses and was forced to lay off employees, ask for donations from its parishioners and obtain a bank loan ”. court records said.
It’s hard to make me feel sympathy for a mega-church, but that sort of thing will. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this is that it was an employee, not the church leaders, who was stealing the money. But the whole story is also about the lack of surveillance there. Even though it’s a church, why weren’t there more people watching the expenses? How did no one notice that so much money was not flowing in the right direction? Did they trust him because of their faith (or his)?
At least she now faces secular punishment. Because when it comes to financial crimes, churches are more than happy to let the courts deal with it.