The former bookkeeper of a North Side church is accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands dollars from the congregation.
An audit determined Ann Carson, 47, wrote $364,418.12 in checks to herself since 2000 from the bank accounts of North Presby-terian Church at 1327 N. Salem Road, according to the complaint filed in La Crosse County Circuit Court.
Carson, of Onalaska, was charged Friday with theft from a business setting over $10,000 and returns to court Thursday for her arraignment.
Carson oversaw the church’s six bank accounts and was responsible for monitoring church funds until she was fired in late June when the missing money was reported to law enforcement.
The audit also discovered Carson mislabeled ledgers to make it appear the accounts had more money, the complaint stated.
The church is devastated that a trusted and loved 20-year employee of the church could steal from the congregation, said the Rev. Scott Skogen, pastor at North Presbyterian Church.
“How we respond to this will define who we are as a church,” Skogen said. “We are in the process of forgiving and the process of letting justice take its course. We feel like forgiveness and justice is walking hand in hand here.”
The church could have used the missing funds, but continues to meet its financial responsibilities, Skogan said.
“We’re hanging in there, so to speak,” he said.