November 30, 2022


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Former finance manager bilks $1.3 million from Fellowship Christian Church

The theft transpired from December 2008 by way of April 2019, the indictment claimed.

GRAPEVINE, Texas — A previous finance supervisor at 1 of the largest churches in Texas – Fellowship Christian Church in Grapevine – pleaded responsible to theft, diverting more than $1.3 million to herself, according to courtroom and law enforcement documents.

Lara Lynn Ford, 51, was sentenced to 10 several years in prison, in accordance to Tarrant County court data. Having said that, she might utilize for shock probation, which could suspend her jail sentence for theft, court information indicated. 

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

The theft happened from December 2008 by April 2019, her indictment claimed.

When questioned by law enforcement why she committed the theft, she responded: “Umm, silly,” the law enforcement report claimed.

She also informed law enforcement she had a investing difficulty, the report mentioned, and would “buy issues she does not require and would support folks.”

Ford explained to police she began stealing from Fellowship Christian by taking dollars from the featuring, then graduated to producing fraudulent bank transfers to 3 particular checking accounts, the report said.

The church has acquired $750,000 in insurance policy statements owing to the theft, according to the Tarrant County DA.

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

Ford tapped into a housing allowance account applied by the church to supplement employee foundation spend. Information display Ford improved her spend an additional $200 every single two months from the housing allowance account. Then, in January 2019, Ford enhanced her shell out an excess $500 each and every two months out of the housing allowance, the police report said.

Brewer informed law enforcement he 1st started questioning “shortages” in church accounts and demoted Ford as finance manager in 2018, but she however remained in the accounting division with obtain to the housing allowance account, the police report mentioned.

Ford started operating at Fellowship Church in 2005, and experienced no prior criminal history.

The theft also comes even though Fellowship Christian Church has been given two governing administration PPP loans of $1.5 million in April 2020, and a further $1.5 million March 2021.

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