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Lutheran synod urging tighter controls on finances after $200K theft

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MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A Lutheran synod in Milwaukee is urging its local churches to put tighter controls on their finances, after a parishioner admitted stealing $200,000.

The Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has recommended changes in bylaws for congregations to safeguard their money. That was after a member of Zion Lutheran Church at Ashippun in Dodge County reportedly stole $200,000 from an endowment fund he was overseeing – and he said he used to pay bills and help struggling relatives.

The man has promised to pay it back. Pastor Bob Thays said the main concern of fellow parishioners has been about the man’s family. And he wrote in a newsletter, “It’s one of the things that make me proud to be the pastor … We all stumble … We will need the forgiveness of others.”

Authorities may not be as kind. Dodge County sheriff’s officials are investigating, and they expect to refer the case to the district attorney’s office within the next two weeks for possible charges. 

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