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Former Colorado Springs Church Employee Makes Restitution for Theft, Fraud 

The former employee apologized, pleaded guilty, and paid $225,000 in restitution.

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A year ago, MinistryWatch reported that the financial director of Pikes Peak Christian Church in Colorado Springs church committed theft, fraud, and other offenses against the church during her five years of employment.

Pikes Peak Christian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado / Facebook

Often these episodes end unsatisfactorily—but this case was different.

Sarah Ann Mock-Butler apologized for her crimes, was forgiven by the church, and made complete restitution, according to reporting by KOAA news.

The judge told Mock-Butler she was fortunate the church extended forgiveness to her for her crimes, adding that someone in less privileged circumstances would likely be facing prison time.

Most of the charges against Mock-Butler were dismissed after she agreed to plead guilty to identity theft and pay $225,000 in restitution, Fox21 News reported.

Mock-Butler will serve four years unsupervised probation and perform 100 hours of community service.

“I am so deeply sorry for my actions over the course of the past year. I’ve had time to reflect on my actions and the impact of my actions. I betrayed my family, and implicated my mother in a crime she had no knowledge of,” Mock-Butler said at her hearing on October 10, 2023.

The case against Mock-Butler’s mother was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

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During the hearing, church members reportedly detailed the impact of Mock-Butler’s crimes, specifically how the money she stole could not be used to help hungry families in the Colorado Springs community and how her crimes directly affected church employees.

Mock-Butler turned herself in without incident on May 31, 2023, after the El Paso Sheriff’s Office secured an arrest warrant for 896 counts of financial crimes against her.

Ross Frisbie, lead pastor of Pikes Peak Christian Church, told MinistryWatch by email last June the church discovered Mock-Butler’s misdeeds in October 2022 after she had left the church’s employ in the summer. They reported the misappropriation of funds to law enforcement.

Mock-Butler was able to take advantage of the opportunity because the church didn’t have enough checks and balances or oversight, Frisbie noted.

Since the discovery, the church has adopted much stricter processes regarding finances, has implemented a financial oversight team, and has hired an outside agency to advise it.

When asked what he would say to other churches wanting to learn from Pikes Peak Christian Church’s experience, Frisbie wrote, “Make sure you have a financial oversight team that sees not only the reports but the bank statements as well. Trust but verify.”

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Why does MinistryWatch report on financial fraud in the church? We report on them because one in three churches will be victimized, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity. We also report on them because these crimes have real victims and cost taxpayers and other stakeholders billions of dollars every year. Even small crimes in small churches have huge consequences. We also report on them to remind our readers that they do not have to be victims. There are steps you can take to prevent financial waste, fraud, and abuse in your church or ministry. To find out more, click here. 

 TO OUR READERS: Do you have a story idea, or do you want to give us feedback about this or any other story? Please email us: [email protected]

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a freelance writer who holds a Juris Doctorate from Baylor University. She has home schooled her three children and is happily married to her husband of 25 years.