Friday, October 31, 2014

Couple Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $1 Million From Kentucky Monastery

From WDRB on 10/31/2014:

Couple accepts plea deal in connection with embezzlement from Abbey of Gethsemani

Police say the case of a million dollars stolen from a monastery might be one of the largest thefts ever in Nelson County, Kentucky. In Nelson Circuit Court on Friday, Carrie and John Hutchins took a plea deal and they will now have to pay big.

John Hutchins pleaded guilty to hundreds of charges for embezzling a million dollars from the Abbey of Gethsemani, dating back to 2008.

"It was all wire transfers. Money was transferred in the same bank from the account in the abbey to an account he had access to. From there it was spent by debit card, check cash," said Nelson County Detective Jason Allison.

He says the money was spent lavishly. "There was a lot of trips to the Bahamas, flew up to Chicago for a meal. A lot of that money I would say was just blown."

Hutchins will go to prison for 20 years, taking the maximum penalty. Prosecutors say his wife, Carrie was not as responsible as her husband, who was the accountant for the monastery. She will be on probation for two years. The couple is losing pretty much everything valuable that they own.

"The gun safe, six watches, exercise equipment, all appliances in the marital residence, two big screen televisions, the zero turn lawnmower," the judge kept listing numerous items.

They will also lose their house and two cars. Detective Allison says the cars were bought with the embezzled money.

The rest of the million dollars stolen--is supposed to be paid back through $600,000 of restitution.
When asked if the monastery will likely ever see that money, the prosecutor smirked. "Um, that's a good question," he replied.

Police already seized what was left in their bank account: $42,000.

"I feel like we come to a good resolution, obviously would've like to have more money that we could've got back from the abbey but we got what we could," said Allison.

The prosecutor says it is not clear how the embezzlement went on for so long without abbey officials noticing. He says the monastery was very trusting of Hutchins, and as a non-profit organization, is not audited like other places.

The couple will be formally sentenced in December.

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