Robert D. Larson, 61, a former bookkeeper for the Northwestern Minnesota Synod, was charged with felony theft and check forgery in Clay County [Minn.] District Court March 1. Larson was terminated in January 2012 after he confessed to embezzling synod funds from 2004 to 2011. Synod staff discovered the embezzlement in December 2011, and a forensic audit established that Larson took $760,000 from the synod, said Bishop Lawrence Wohlrabe. The synod received a payment of more than $590,000 (what could be verified that Larson pocketed for himself) from insurance provided for synods through the ELCA. Larson's predecessor, Rosemarie Johnk, was terminated in May 2004 for using the synod's credit to make nearly $24,000 in unauthorized purchases.
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