Credit card misuse

The Case

The 23-year-old church staffer was issued a church credit card. It was supposed to be used for church expenses, but maybe she wasn’t told. Over a nearly two year period, she used the card made about 1,400 unauthorized purchases. The total came to about $50,000. All of these were for personal use, and most were shipped directly to her home. She is currently facing felony charges. Link

Analysis

Credit card companies provide monthly statements – but it appears that nobody was looking at them. The church received 22 of these statements, and someone – or multiple someones – should have spotted the personal expenses on the first that arrived.

How to prevent this at your church

  • Limit the number of people who are issued church credit cards;
  • Provide clear guidelines on what purchased are acceptable;
  • Use fill-as-you-go cards, and load them with only just over the amount of the expected expenses;
  • Have the credit card statements sent to the pastor or other senior staffer for an initial smell-check;
  • Have your bookkeeper review credit card expenses carefully, looking for personal expenses;
  • Require receipts for credit card purchases.