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Press Release

Former Church Employee Sentenced to Over Two Years in Prison for Stealing from the Church

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Stole nearly $275,000 over a four-year period

A former employee who stole more than $270,000 from the church that employed her was sentenced today to more two years in federal prison.

Melissa Noland, age 47, from Polk City, Iowa, received the prison term after a May 12, 2021, guilty plea to one count of wire fraud.

Information from a plea agreement and court hearings showed that Noland was employed by a church between January 2015 and January 2019.  During that time, Noland stole money from the church in various ways.  Noland wrote checks to herself using the church’s checkbook, used church bank accounts to pay her own credit card bills, and made excess payroll distributions to herself.  Noland eventually stole $274,222.09 from the church.  Once the church discovered her thefts, she was terminated from her employment. 

Noland was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Noland was sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment.   She was ordered to make $274,222.09 in restitution the church.  She must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.  Noland was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Mason City Police Department. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 21-CR-3025.

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Updated September 24, 2021

Financial Fraud