- David Reiter, 50, and his wife, Connie, 44, are accused of stealing $US1.2 million from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania.
- Police say they used the money to fund trips to Disney World and Hershey Park, and to purchase Pittsburgh Pirates tickets, scrapbooking materials, and music lessons for their kids.
- Westminster Presbyterian Church said in a statement that the funds were largely transferred electronically.
A church administrator and his wife are accused of stealing $US1.2 million from their congregation over the course of 17 years to fund personal vacations and sporting event tickets, officials told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Police say David Reiter, 50, and his wife, Connie, 44, used cash taken from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, to fund trips to Walt Disney World and Hershey Park, and to purchase Pittsburgh Pirates tickets, scrapbooking materials, and music lessons for their kids, according to a criminal complaint seen by INSIDER.
Reiter worked as a church administrator for Westminster Presbyterian Church for 17 years between 2001 and 2018.
The church’s head pastor, Jim Gilchrist, confronted Reiter over the alleged fraud in November 2018, saying he had concerns that Reiter may have impersonated an auditor, according to the complaint.
At the time, Reiter told Gilchrist that he “needed to resign” because he had “done some bad things,” the complaint said.
Reiter then allegedly admitted to stealing $US600,000 to $US630,000 from the church and Early Childhood Education Programs, a separate entity located in the building’s basement, to “make things better at home,” the complaint said.
After an investigation, police said Reiter took about $US1,227,423 from the church by transferring funds from its bank account into his personal one.
He was charged on Tuesday with 10 counts relating to theft, forgery, and receiving stolen property, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office said in the criminal complaint.
Connie Reiter faces two counts of receiving stolen property.
Westminster Presbyterian Church told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a statement that David Reiter was a “widely trusted, active member in the church” who “engaged in sophisticated forms of deception to hide his theft.”
“While the church always had reasonable levels of controls for receiving and counting money and making disbursements by check, the theft was accomplished largely through electronic fund transfers,” the statement said. “New procedures and controls have been implemented to prevent such activity in the future, and a full outside audit will be completed this spring.”
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