Harvest Bible Chapel says former employee stole nearly $300K

A fraud investigation launched by Harvest Bible Chapel led to the firing of an employee accused of stealing nearly $300,000 from the megachurch.

Church elders said they found evidence in late October that a "non-ministry" staff member who worked in operations had defrauded Harvest. The employee was suspended without pay and was fired Feb. 13, a statement posted Thursday on the church's website said.

The church shared the findings with Elgin police and the Kane County state's attorney's office, both of which said an investigation is pending.

The church's statement on Thursday did not say how the theft came to light. The church hired a forensic attorney and accountant to conduct an independent probe with "full access to requested data, systems and church personnel," the elders' statement said.

Elders said the investigation determined $298,172.71 was taken from the church.

"The investigators have confirmed that no one else on the HBC staff was involved in the underlying fraud," the elders said, adding the church had submitted a claim to its insurance carrier.

The allegations led the church to improve internal procedures, the elders statement read.

"We are implementing a series of recommendations from our advisers to enhance our internal controls and with a focus on the prevention of future recurrence, including enhanced purchasing procedures, onboarding procedures, segregation of duties, data management, and compliance monitoring."

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