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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Former Church Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Church of Nearly a Half-Million Dollars

Fraud occurred over thirteen years

A man who used church funds for his own personal expenses over a thirteen year period pled guilty today in federal court in Sioux City.

Andrew Matheason, age 65, from Graettinger, Iowa, was convicted of one count of wire fraud.

In a plea agreement, Matheason admitted that he served as the treasurer at Bethel Lutheran Church in Graettinger from 2003 through 2017, and that he stole at least $479,297.68 from the church during that time period.  In the plea agreement, Matheason admitted that he wrote checks to himself and established a fictitious company and wrote checks from the church’s bank account made payable to that fake company.  He also set up electronic transfers of funds from the church’s accounts to pay his personal credit card balances.  To avoid detection, Matheason created false financial reports and presented those false reports to church leaders.  

Sentencing before Chief United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Matheason remains free on conditions of release pending sentencing.  Matheason faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin Lightfoot and was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 18-CR-3036.

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Financial Fraud
Updated September 13, 2018