News and Press Releases

warrensburg woman pleads guilty to embezzling
$140,000 from church, organization

April 22, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Warrensburg, Mo., woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing nearly $140,000 from a church and a church organization in a securities fraud scheme.

Mary Earlene Judd, 60, of Warrensburg, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs on Thursday, April 21, 2011, to a federal information that charges her with forging the security instruments of an organization.

Judd served as treasurer for both the Missouri Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church in Knob Noster, Mo. The Missouri Presbytery is a governing organization of 25 Presbyterian churches in Missouri, including Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church. As treasurer, Judd had the authority to sign checks and paid bills and expenses.

Judd admitted that she stole money from Missouri Presbytery and from Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church by overstating her reimbursements for the cost of supplies she purchased, and wrote reimbursement checks for supplies that were never purchased. She also overstated or fabricated mileage and expenses for travel expenses and trips she never took. Judd admitted that she wrote checks to herself as well as to her husband and daughter, forged their names on the back of the checks and deposited the checks into her personal bank account.

Judd wrote $68,878 in checks from the Missouri Presbytery accounts and $51,045 in checks from the Pleasant Grove account for fictitious expenses or services, which were reported on the check memo line as salary, supplies, trip expenses, mileage, mowing, repairs and maintenance. Judd also made out checks to cash from the two accounts totaling $26,525, for a total loss of $139,734. Judd repaid some of the money, bringing the actual loss to $125,159.

Under federal statutes, Judd is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg R. Coonrod. It was investigated by the FBI.

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