A 70-year-old church secretary was recently caught stealing $59,000 from the Iowa church where she worked, reports The Christian Post.
Last year, it was discovered that Carol Jean Padgett, who was a secretary at Unity Lutheran Church for 11 years, had stolen at least $59,000 from the church to purchase personal items.
Padgett was implicitly trusted at Unity Lutheran Church, where she was solely responsible for the church’s finances. The church began to be stretched financially as Padgett embezzled more and more money for a new car, an expensive vacuum, and other items. Church members rose to meet the challenges, raising more money.
When this didn’t seem to help the church’s financial situation, church leaders decided to take a look at the church’s bank statements for themselves, and that’s when they found evidence of Padgett’s theft.
Padgett has been sentenced to 80 hours of community service and is under probation for two years. She has also been ordered to repay the money.
Her actions nearly forced the church to go out of business, which would have made her crime unable to be tracked and prosecuted.
“You stole from God,” the church’s pastor, the Rev. Donna Joseph, told Padgett in court.
Padgett has expressed remorse for what she did, saying, “I do apologize…My actions were deplorable.”