Synod bookkeeper charged with swindling $600,000 - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Synod bookkeeper charged with swindling $600,000

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MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) -- A former bookkeeper for an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America synod is charged with swindling $600,000.

Sixty-one-year-old Robert Larson is charged with felony theft and check forgery in Clay County District Court. Prosecutors say Larson stole the money from the Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA and an associated nonprofit for farmers and rural residents who are struggling financially.

Authorities say Larson spent more than half the money remodeling his house outside of Wolverton. A complaint says Larson would forge checks from the nonprofit payable to him and his wife. The Forum (http://bit.ly/1013p0h ) reports Larson told police he wanted to be compensated for his time devoted to the nonprofit charity and that forging the checks to himself "became a habit."

Larson did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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