Is it legal for a preacher to collect the money from the congregation for 1 thing and use the money for something else?

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Is it legal for a preacher to collect the money from the congregation for 1 thing and use the money for something else?

I know a preacher who asked his congregation for money that his daughter might have a necessary operation. He asked the members for $100 each. They collected over $11,000. His daughter never had the operation so members began to talk. About 2 weeks later, he said in church “all those that want your money back can come forth now. This will be the only time that you can get your money back”. This was done during the service. This was also done to intimidate the members. Is this legal?

Asked on November 25, 2011 under Criminal Law, Kentucky

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you know of a particular preacher who made a representation of a need for a contribution of money for a particular purpose benefitting himself or a member of his family, money was collected and then the money was not used for the particular purpose and it now seems that rhe money may have been used for some other pupose, then possibly the preacher may have "defrauded" members of his congregation.

One of the oldest and most common instances of fraud results where someone in a position of trust takes advantage of people who trust him or her. I suggest that the directors of the church have a meeting to discuss the conduct of your preacher and that possibly an attorney who practices general civil law be consulted about the situation.


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