June 2, 2023


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Former finance supervisor bilks $1.3 million from Fellowship Christian Church

The theft happened from December 2008 via April 2019, the indictment mentioned.

GRAPEVINE, Texas — A former finance supervisor at 1 of the most significant churches in Texas – Fellowship Christian Church in Grapevine – pleaded guilty to theft, diverting extra than $1.3 million to herself, in accordance to courtroom and law enforcement data.

Lara Lynn Ford, 51, was sentenced to 10 decades in jail, in accordance to Tarrant County courtroom information. However, she could utilize for shock probation, which could suspend her prison sentence for theft, courtroom data indicated. 

An audit of the church’s banking accounts located Ford bilked $1,377,000, according to a Grapevine Law enforcement offense report.

The theft happened from December 2008 by way of April 2019, her indictment stated.

When requested by police why she fully commited the theft, she responded: “Umm, stupid,” the police report claimed.

She also explained to law enforcement she had a shelling out issue, the report stated, and would “buy matters she doesn’t need and would assistance people.”

Ford informed law enforcement she began stealing from Fellowship Christian by having money from the giving, then graduated to generating fraudulent financial institution transfers to three personalized examining accounts, the report claimed.

The church has received $750,000 in insurance coverage promises due to the theft, according to the Tarrant County DA.

The investigation into the theft was brought on when Fellowship Christian CFO Dennis Brewer learned “discrepancies with some transactions” in April 2019, according to the law enforcement report.

Ford tapped into a housing allowance account utilized by the church to complement worker base pay. Documents show Ford enhanced her pay back an excess $200 each individual two weeks from the housing allowance account. Then, in January 2019, Ford amplified her pay back an excess $500 every single two weeks out of the housing allowance, the law enforcement report said.

Brewer told law enforcement he very first started questioning “shortages” in church accounts and demoted Ford as finance manager in 2018, but she even now remained in the accounting department with entry to the housing allowance account, the police report said.

Ford started doing the job at Fellowship Church in 2005, and experienced no prior legal heritage.

The theft also will come whilst Fellowship Christian Church has acquired two federal government PPP loans of $1.5 million in April 2020, and yet another $1.5 million March 2021.

WFAA has arrived at out to Fellowship Church and the attorney of Ford for remark.