Consumer Alert: Woman steals thousands from church

MGN Online

CONSUMER ALERT: An elaborate scheme to steal tens of thousands of dollars. Some of the money was intended for the hungry and homeless. The victims were caught and now their victims are angry.

Paul McFann is not mincing words when he speaks about this con artist. He is talking about the former secretary and treasurer of his church's council, Jane Loprest.

Loperest stole more than $119,000 from the church.

McFann says, "She had endeared herself to many. She's extremely intelligent, extremely personable, very knowledgeable with technology and most importantly, her ability to help others."

McFann, president of the church council, says Loprest used those traits to gain people's trust and then began raiding church accounts.

"She would cut checks to herself, she would increase her pay. She increased her pay, doubled or tripled her pay."

Laura Carter, a US Postal Inspector, says, "She covered her tracks really well. There were never any accounts that the church was overdrawn because of the way she was conducting the scheme."

Postal Inspectors used these surveillance photos from the bank used by the church to track deposits and withdraws.

They found that Loprest would write checks but never issue them. So, the books might "look" correct, but she was actually taking the cash for herself.

McFann says, "There were a number of contributions and causes, people in need, that were never met because the checks were never sent."

This is what made the 120 parishioners of this small church so angry.

McFann says, "I really believe it was a chess game, she loved the challenge, how long can I get by with this? What new approaches can I use?"

Postal Inspectors say oversight is key for any organization, whether it's for-profit or non-profit.

Carter says, "Conduct annual audit with a CPA, volunteers are great, but you need that CPA to give you what's going on with your books."

Janet Loprest plead guilty, and spent one year in jail.

She was also ordered to pay more than $100,000 dollars in restitution back to the church.

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