Church bookkeeper accused of theft | News
COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) - The former bookkeeper of a Catholic church in Colonial Heights is now facing charges of stealing thousands of dollars from her church.
Now, Catholic church leaders who are urging parishioners not to lose faith.
For more than 20 years, Saint Ann's Catholic Church in Chesterfield County trusted Nancy Snyder with their money.
But investigators say she broke one of the key commandments: thou shall not steal. While she kept track of the books, Snyder is accused of keeping a piece for herself. The Catholic Diocese of Richmond did an internal investigation.
According to court documents, Snyder was embezzling money from the church for ten years. State Police were told about the irregularities in January 2011. When it was added up, investigators say Snyder had pocketed $30,000.
"That's the amount we can prove was taken," says Steve Neill, spokesperson with the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.
Church leaders fear parishioners could lose faith with a case like this.
"It's very disheartening because we want Catholics to feel that when they are making a donation in the parish collections that their money is safe and is used for the intended purpose," says Neil.
Neill says churches under the Richmond diocese must follow strict guidelines when the collection is added up.
"The money has to be counted immediately," he said. "It is counted by at least two people, three if two of them are related. It's put in a tamper resistant bag, signed off with the date and the people signing off."
While Snyder faces charges of embezzlement and forgery, Neill says those hurt must practice a key Christian principle.
"We know the church has sinners," he said. "And sin is wrong. We've got to try our best to avoid it, but when it happens we have to also forgive."
Snyder is out of jail and free on bond. Her next court date is June 14. The pastor at Saint Ann's told us that the church community believes she deserves a fair trial.
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