Former church secretary faces multiple charges in alleged theft of $21,000 from a Watkins church
LITCHFIELD -- A former church secretary faces multiple felony theft and forgery charges for allegedly stealing more than $21,000 from a church in Watkins.
LITCHFIELD - A former church secretary faces multiple felony theft and forgery charges for allegedly stealing more than $21,000 from a church in Watkins.
Renae Cecilia Miller, 52, of Watkins, made her first appearance Wednesday in Meeker County District Court on six counts of felony check forgery and three counts of felony theft by check. Miller is scheduled to make her next appearance March 10 on the charges.
Miller was St. Anthony Catholic Church’s secretary for 15 years and is alleged to have taken cash from church collections and money from church accounts. She also allegedly issued herself additional paychecks beyond her authorized salary.
The criminal complaint also says that she also failed to pay the church’s state and federal payroll taxes.
According to the criminal complaint, a Meeker County Sheriff’s Office detective received report Aug. 5 from a St. Anthony Catholic Church trustee that the church secretary, Miller, had been stealing money from the church.
The detective then spoke with the chairman of the church’s finance committee, who told the detective that the Internal Revenue Service had levied $37,000 in June against the church’s bank account.
Miller reportedly resigned after representatives of the church confronted Miller about the financial irregularities.
After Miller’s resignation, representatives searched Miller’s office and allegedly found numerous unopened letters from the IRS and a sheet of paper where it appears Miller was practicing forging a pastor’s signature.
The church hired an auditor to review Miller’s payroll documents. The auditor identified 82 checks paid to Miller between January 2012 and June 2014.
Of these, 20 checks had a signature that appeared to be different from the pastor’s usual signature. The total of these checks is $19,351.
There were also 10 non-payroll checks issued to Miller on which the signature did not match the pastor’s signature totaling $1,838.