An Onamia woman, Darcy Beth Deboer, 55, has been charged by the Mille Lacs County Attorney’s Office for theft-indifferent to owner rights which went on from approximately January of 2018 through November of 2019.

According to the criminal complaint:

On Jan. 14, 2020, Onamia Police met with staff for the Bethany Lutheran Church in Onamia who reported their employee, Darcy Beth Deboer, had falsified payroll records and made unauthorized purchases on the church’s credit accounts since late 2018.

Deboer had been employed as a secretary at the church and was in charge of financial management. As part of her employment, she was allowed to reside in an adjoining house to the church but was still required to pay rent.

In an email to the church board dated Nov. 21, 2019, Deboer confessed to taking money by using the church’s credit card for personal expenses and then submitting false invoices to cover the discrepancy.

Church staff explained that they had attempted to resolve the issue internally after terminating Deboer, but Deboer disagreed with the church about the amount she owed and stopped making repayments.

In the interim, the church continued working with a financial auditor and discovered that Deboer had been committing payroll fraud as well, primarily by repaying herself additional checks but also by failing to withhold sufficient taxes in order to cover discrepancies in the funds.

The final number from the church included a total of $3,021.67 from credit card misuse dating back to 2015, $881.88 in forged receipts for misappropriated funds and $2,766.40 in payroll fraud. The overall loss to the church totaled $6,669.95. This figure does not include other damages to the church such as attorney’s fees, auditor fees and IRS penalties.

According to the complaint, Deboer made a statement to police saying that she had fallen into financial hardship in 2018 and began making falsified invoices in order to divert church money to her own accounts. She also acknowledged falsifying payroll records.

The theft-indifferent to owner rights charge comes with a maximum of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.

No mugshot was available at time of publication.

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