A Michigan man was charged with embezzling $800,000 from his church between 2018-2019,
The man, who was reportedly a member of the church he embezzled the money from, is potentially facing a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of three times the amount of money stolen. According to a nine-page incident report obtained by Fox 17 from the Grand Rapids Police Department, Christian Bileth, the person who is facing the charges, is accused of stealing more than $812,000 from his church.
According to a police sergeant who spoke to Fox 17, the Grand Rapids Police Department was made aware of the charges last year from the church’s own internal investigation when investment funds did not match church records. “A member of the church who located through their internal investigation some impropriety with regards to the handling of church finances. After their internal investigation, they contacted the police department, and then we picked up the criminal investigation from there,” the police sergeant told Fox 17.
The church shared that they found a check cut to Core Audit Consultants, a firm owned by the Michigan churchgoer, whom the church said was never approved nor voted on. It is alleged he did this 66 times totaling $812,000.
According to churchgoers, the man was the only person who could write the checks and they were written directly to his company. “You know, we’re talking about particularly in this time where people are disengaged from their community, sometimes their spirituality and the place that they worship is all they may have, and if this church is unable to continue on – and I’m not saying it won’t be able to – you have to look at the bigger picture here,” the police sergeant stated to Fox 17.
Bileth turned himself in to the police and is currently out on bond awaiting the trial.