Maybe this only happens here, maybe this happens everywhere, or maybe it's tied to the economy, but, goddamn, Orange County churches and religious organizations sure get ripped off frequently by those who keep their financial books.
Speaking of the books, Elyse Marie Kennedy, of Santa Ana, is accused of taking them from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Tustin one day in January 2009 and never returning again. She's now accused of embezzling $129,000 from church accounts between 2007 and 2009. The 37-year-old was to be arraigned in Santa Ana today on 154 felony counts of forgery, with sentencing enhancements and allegations for aggravated white-collar crime. And Fashion Court may add counts for those Herman Munster bangs.
According to the Orange County district attorney's office:
- Kennedy wrote checks to herself from the church's bank accounts without the knowledge or consent of her church employers;
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- St. Paul's only discovered the funds were missing after receiving bank records;
- If convicted, Kennedy could get probation or a prison sentence ranging from 16 months to 107 years;
- She's been held in Orange County Jail since Dec. 27 for the church case and a probation violation from a 2005 grand-theft conviction.
Tip to Orange County churches: Don't hire someone with a grand-theft conviction as your bookkeeper.