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Financial fraud committed against Florida Baptist Convention

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP) – Florida Baptist Convention leadership released a statement Wednesday afternoon (May 10) to report an instance of financial fraud.

“The fraudulent transaction is related to a payment from our convention to one of our SBC entities,” the statement said. “We have reported this crime to the FBI, local law enforcement, our insurance carrier, our bank, and our auditing firm.”

Though no perpetrator is named, the statement indicates that the alleged fraud was carried out by a person with knowledge about the communications and practice between the entity and the Florida convention.

“An investigation is being launched to determine how this knowledge was gained,” the statement said. “At this time, we have no reason to suspect malfeasance by any convention employees.”

The statement is signed jointly by four men – Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention; Aaron Burgner, president of the Florida Baptist State Board of Missions; Darren Gaddis, chair of the Board of Missions’ finance committee; and Paul Purvis, president of the Florida Baptist State Convention.

“As you can imagine, our convention staff and state board of missions is distraught over this loss of financial resources,” the men wrote. “It is our desire in all that we do to bring glory to our Lord and Savior, and to continue earning the trust of the churches we serve when we distribute the sacrificial resources given through tithes and offerings.”

Reserve convention funds are sufficient to cover the loss, the statement said, and the State Board of Missions’ administrative and finance committees have formed a subcommittee to provide oversight to an audit investigation.

The letter urged pastors and churches to scrutinize financial and IT policies.

“This specifically includes critically scrutinizing any and all requests—even those from a supposedly well-known source—that request a shift from historical payment practices,” it said.

Read the full statement here.

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