An Indiana woman who worked as a church office manager has been accused of scamming approximately $177,000 from her employer, the prosecutor’s office announced Tuesday.
Stephanie Hicks has been charged with theft and two counts of forgery for allegedly using Pleasant View Lutheran Church’s credit card and checking account to make multiple unauthorized purchases, according to RTV6.
Stephanie Hicks is accused of scamming $177,000 from her church employer. (Image source: Indianapolis Metro Police Department via WISH-TV)
Hicks, a 13-year employee of the church, allegedly used her employer's credit card to make $46,000 worth of unauthorized purchase and then used the checking account to pay off the balance.
Prosecutors said Hicks also transferred approximately $129,000 from the church’s account into her personal banking account and also forged the signature of the church’s treasurer on two checks.
Police said they traced the unauthorized purchases to businesses including Target, Papa John’s Pizza, Trader Joe’s and Hip Girl Boutique. Police add Hicks scammed as much as $13,479 in a single month.
The alleged theft occurred between Jan. 1, 2011, and May 31, 2013. Oddly enough, Hicks left Pleasant View Lutheran Church in March 2013, but the scamming continued through May of this year, the Indy Star reported.
Local authorities started investigating Hicks in April.
All charges are class “C” felonies, meaning the former church worker could do two to eight years in prison if convicted.
Hicks was arrested Tuesday. An initial hearing is expected to take place later this week.
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