The phrase "white collar crime" is usually associated with images of business men embezzling money from a giant corporation. While this may often be the case, white collar crime can be committed by anyone who commits a crime in the course of their employment. The most common types of white collar crime involve theft or fraud of some kind.
Earlier this week, a Wisconsin man was charged with theft from the church at which he was employed. Church members started to suspect something was not right when the church went over budget. Thus far the investigation has determined that he stole around $140,000 from the congregation over the past seven years.
According to the district attorney, church employees stealing from the church is more common than most think. As the treasurer of the church, the man was responsible for the money given to the church by its parishioners and then allocating it for budgeting purposes.
According to him, the church was over its budget with no indication that anyone was working to fix the problem. He says that he began to write checks to himself and using the money to purchase food. The members of the church congregation are confused why a fellow member would take their money to use for himself.
As the investigation continues, police will be able to determine exactly what happened. If the man is convicted of the theft charges, the sentencing judge has the discretion to give him a hefty fine and send him to prison for up to 10 years.
Source: Marshfield News-Herald, "Church treasurer charged with theft," Liz Welter, 11 November 2010