Woman pleads guilty to embezzling $300K from church

ST. LOUIS – A Fenton, Mo. woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $300,000 from a church bank account.

According to court documents, 52-year-old Elaine Lewis committed the crimes between 2009 and August 2013 while she worked as a bookkeeper at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in St. Louis County.

Most of the money was transferred from the church's checking account with Bank of America into a Commerce Bank account associated with her family's business, Advanced Lock & Key, Inc.

Lewis will be sentenced March 7, 2014. She faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.

Here's the churches statement:

"It was with shock and sadness that we learned August 8, 2013 of the discrepancies in our congregational finances. Those discrepancies were immediately and thoroughly investigated and all information was provided to the appropriate authorities. An investigation by the authorities ensued. Today, we learned that Elaine Lewis pleaded guilty of this activity. At this time, we have no further information regarding the outcome of the plea. Please know that we are committed to sharing information with you as we are able, but also please understand the issues of privacy may come into play.

"As we have emphasized before, we have implemented all necessary measures to ensure the security of our finances and the continued daily operations of our church. At this time, we ask that you continue to keep our ministry and all those involved in this situation, including Elaine Lewis and her family, in your prayers..."


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