A former director of the Fellowship church is said to have stolen nearly a total of $ 1.4 million over a decade, documents show.
the Christian Post reported that Lara Lynn Ford flew to Texas-based Pastor Ed Young’s Fellowship Church without being arrested for over ten years. Grapevine court and police department records from April 2019 showed Ford shied away from a “bad spending habit” and “helping people.” When asked why she stole the money, she was quoted as responding with “uh, stupid”.
“Ford then admitted that she didn’t have the money in an account, that she would buy things that she didn’t need and that she would help people,” said Grapevine cop T. Karfs, in the 2019 report.
Ford was sentenced to 10 years in prison on April 16 after pleading guilty to “theft of property valued over” $ 300,000, “the Christian Post added.
More, Star-Telegram is worth it reported that the sentence was actually reduced from a 99-year jail term to a $ 10,000 case after pleading guilty. Ford, 51, intends to seek shock probation to suspend her prison sentence, considering she had never been convicted of a felony.
The Star-Telegram stressed that Ford would only receive this request from a judge after six months of receiving his conviction and depended “on his behavior and his progress report in prison.” Community oversight would be in place if the shock probation application was granted.
The Star-Telegram revealed that Ford began stealing church funds on December 22, 2008 based on accounts by Fellowship CFO Dennis Brewer documented in the search warrant.
Brewer “discovered additions to Ford’s monthly housing allowance” in April 2019, prompting him to confront Ford about it. Ford then confessed that she had increased her housing allowance and taken extra money through setting up automatic payments to her checking accounts.
It was only then, the Star-Telegram added, that the exchange performed an audit of their bank accounts and found that a minimum of $ 1,068,825.23 had already been received by the Ford checking accounts. Ford’s church laptop was then seized by Grapevine police later in the year to see further evidence of his thefts through “transactions, receipts and other accounts.” Ford was able to pay half the money with insurance based on Tarrant County court records.
The Christian Post added that Ford initially took “$ 50 to $ 200 each time” and then increased it “when she had access to church bank accounts as part of her work in the finance department. “. When she was able to manually send money to church workers whenever direct deposits didn’t go through, Ford used the same process of “sending money to each other.” She then made online payments to her account using the laptop from $ 1,500 to $ 1,700 per week or month “for seven to eight years.”
Ford was able to steal a total of $ 1,377,144.76 based on further investigations on it, the Christian Post said. Of which $ 250,000 was paid by Hartford Insurance.
The Christian Post revealed that Ford was suspected of committing fraud as early as 2015, but it was mostly hearsay. Christy Quick, a former co-worker who was on Ford staff, provided information about the allegations against her to a private investigator, who in turn contacted Agent Karfs.
Quick testified that she had not personally witnessed any act of “handling accounts and transferring money to” Ford. However, “she heard it through a third party” – someone who happens to be “close to Ford” and “to whom Ford would have confessed.”