Church Volunteer Steals More Than Half a Million Dollars

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Kelby Crawford

A woman who worked as the financial secretary of her church has been charged with embezzling more than half a million dollars from it to pay for thousands of online purchases, car loans, satellite television, cell phone bills, and even her own wedding. The Burlington County announced that Taisha D. Smith DeJoseph, of Willingboro, New Jersey, was charged with embezzling a total of $561,777 from St. Paul’s Baptist Church. The investigation began after officials from St. Paul’s Baptist Church who suspected the theft contacted BCPO to get to the bottom of it. They later revealed that over a five-year period ending in March 2019, Smith-DeJoseph, who was responsible for overseeing the church’s finances, opened electronic bank accounts for St. Paul’s and used the funds for personal purposes. To hide her tracks over this five-year period she allegedly issued payroll and supply reimbursement checks from the church’s coffers and fabricated monthly financial statements. She also failed to file tax returns from 2014-2018 in an attempt to hide her embezzlement scheme from the government. When the press asked the pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church how this could have gone on for so long his response was “We put our trust in other people as well as in God and sometimes that trust is misplaced… it is very hurtful for the entire congregation.” This is why many churches or organizations do background checks on volunteers but even sometimes you never know what could happen. Trusting people can either benefit you or hurt you in the end.