INDIANAPOLIS — The former business manager of a Catholic parish in Indianapolis signed a plea agreement to pay more than $570,000 in restitution after stealing from the organization over a span of more than 10 years.
The agreement, filed in October in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, stated Marie Carson committed wire fraud while working for St. Matthew Parish, which oversees St. Matthew Catholic Church and School on E. 56th Street in Indianapolis.
From August 18, 2008 to May 19, 2021, Carson is believed to have illegally transferred $573,836.59 from the parish’s business accounts to her own personal bank accounts.
Investigators said the business manager would first take parishioners’ checks meant for the church and deposit them into one of the parish’s bank accounts. She would then electronically transfer the funds to one of her own accounts and make false entries in the database used to track payments from parishioners, according to court documents.
Investigators estimated she committed wire fraud 124 times.
Carson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, although a judge may sentence her to probation or in-home detention.
A letter sent by Rev. Msgr. William F. Stumpf to St. Matthew parishioners said in part, “Upon discovery of the theft, we enacted new internal accounting controls to provide assurance that all funds are safeguarded. We carry Fidelity insurance to cover fraud and theft losses and we have received payment to cover the documented loss. It is with deep sadness to report that these serious events have occurred.”