Ex-Iowa church treasurer pleads guilty to defrauding church

Federal prosecutors say a former church treasurer in northwestern Iowa has pleaded guilty to defrauding the church of nearly $500,000 over 13 years.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern District of Iowa says 65-year-old Andrew Matheason pleaded guilty Wednesday in Sioux City’s federal court to one count of wire fraud.

As part of the plea, Matheason admitted that from 2003 through 2017, he stole at least $479,298 from the Bethel Lutheran Church in Graettinger. Prosecutors say he wrote checks to himself, paid his credit card balances from church funds and established a fake company to which he wrote checks from the church’s account. To avoid detection, he created false financial reports that he presented to church leaders.

Matheason faces up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced at a later date.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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