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4 Bumps

So my sneaky little MIL is back at it again ---

I'm not entirely sure where to start.

She took out credit cards and student loans in DH's name while he was in college. She then told us right before we were married (in 2008) she "cosigned" a loan for DH's $10k truck - when she actually fit it in as collateral in a larger-scale business loan. The business went south, bankrupt, closed, and she filed personal bankruptcy after that. Her Bank of America accounts were waaaaay overdrawn, and we had to hire an atty to stop litigation for collection of her debts from our accounts since my DH's collateral account (for a secured credit card in college) had her name on it as a POD and it linked us to her. She has a terrible habit of using people and then throwing them under the bus.

Anyway, beyond all this, we've finally reached a point of tolerance. I can tolerate being around her and my DH's stepdad. (He's a textbook narcissist.) Then, the May 20 Tornado hit Moore. We live locally, and our church is less than a mile from the damage. Our church opened up a relief center, and over time, she became the one in charge.(This same woman who embezzled money from her own businesses and had them both shut down by the state.) The church leaders don't know about all this mess, and they put her in charge of all the money, gave her their tax id number for FEMA and Red Cross use, and she's totally abusing it.

We started recording the gift cards that were coming in. They were to go directly to church families that had lost their homes in the storm. However, after a collection of over $7000 in gift cards grew, she stopped recording them as they came in, with a slew of excuses, "I have a new notebook." "I've transferred everything to a spreadsheet." "The center needs a new computer tower, everything is lost."

Meanwhile, showing up to the grocery store for herself, Best Buy, Walmart... buying groceries, electronics, furniture, clothes, shoes, BB GUNS AND OTHER AMMO... with the church gift cards AND their tax id number!

I want to go to the admin sooooo terribly bad. DH is totally against me on this one, solely because he doesn't want to raise a stink in the church. His mom has been in the choir over 10 years, his stepdad the soundboard manager for the last 8 years. They're super close to the pastor and his wife, and the wife's parents (who were the former pastors before). I know without a shadow of a doubt that the pastors and admins know NOTHING of any of this. My inlaws drive brand new, EXPENSIVE cars, are always on the list to volunteer... it's as if they use the church to cover up what's really going on in their lives. They aren't even married any more, yet there are people in the church that don't even know they were divorced 3 years ago!

How would you approach this?

In my heart of hearts, I know it's not right to just let this go unbeknownst to them all. It's a shame I'm caught in the middle of it, I just don't want to be guilty by association because some of the gift cards could have bought gifts for my children! I am so ashamed to be tied up in this, and I really feel like I need to tell someone. But I've only known the pastor and his wife off and on over the last 4 years... We've only been in the church steady for a year, at that, and they don't know us very well at all. I don't want to cause problems, but something needs to be done to stop this monster!!!


Asked by Anonymous at 11:53 PM on Aug. 1, 2013 in Relationships

This question is closed.
Answers (23)
  • She is committing fraud and could go to jail. She is cheating the church and the people who need the gift cards out of money. Why would you even hesitate to say something?

    Answer by kmath at 12:01 AM on Aug. 2, 2013

  • Send what you've written here in an anonymous letter to the pastor and the board members (deacons or whatever you have in the organization)

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 12:03 AM on Aug. 2, 2013

  • It would definitely not be anonymous. They'd all know where it came from. I'm the only other person that has access to the books for the relief center.

    Oh, gosh! This is another story entirely. You need to speak up. First of all, if you say nothing and it comes out later that you could have, or should have, known about this and said nothing, you could be held accountable, by the church if not by the law. Speaking up is part of being a good steward. Then there's the moral question--speaking up is the right thing to do, even if it makes all hell break loose. You have a responsibility to the donors, the church members, and the tornado victims to tell what you know.

    Answer by Ballad at 12:16 AM on Aug. 2, 2013

  • There is way to much drama in that post for me and it hurts my head.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:57 PM on Aug. 1, 2013

  • I agree with the anonymous letter. What the church leaders choose to do with the information once they get it is up to them, but this can't be allowed to go on. Assuming the information is traced to you--hopefully not, but worst case scenario--do you have proof of anything? Does anybody else who would be willing to back you up know anything? Bottom line, you can't keep quiet about this because it will eat you up, and the people who made donations, and most especially the tornado victims who are missing out on much needed help, deserve a voice of justice speaking up for them.

    Answer by Ballad at 12:11 AM on Aug. 2, 2013

  • I'd be calling the district attorney. IMMEDIATELY. They can handle it from there and you need never be "fingered" as the "snitch."

    Answer by gdiamante at 12:30 AM on Aug. 2, 2013

  • By not saying anything and knowing because you have excess to the books, you will be found guilty in a court of law


    Answer by fiatpax at 12:32 AM on Aug. 2, 2013

  • It would definitely not be anonymous. They'd all know where it came from. I'm the only other person that has access to the books for the relief center. It just makes me sick!

    If you don't say anything and it does get found out, you could be blamed or charged as an accomplice since you had access to the books as well. You need to say something before the shit rains down on your head.

    Answer by kmath at 12:57 AM on Aug. 2, 2013

  • If nothing else you need to tell the church through an anonymous letter and or phone call. The church can be charged with fraud and it is simply wrong.

    Answer by Dardenella at 12:04 AM on Aug. 2, 2013

  • The problem is that if this is found out, she will be in trouble with the church and the law. The bigger problem is that you can be held accountable as well because you are an accessory by covering up her theft.

    Answer by Dardenella at 1:04 AM on Aug. 2, 2013