For 24 years, Barbara Myers worked with Barry R. Herr at a small denominational office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where everybody knew everybody. Co-workers were aware of when someone’s family had a baby, a wedding or a death.
But they didn’t know Herr was embezzling money—more than $1 million from the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, where he was treasurer. He used the money to buy classic cars, police said.
“He ripped off his own church,” said Myers, a spokesperson for the synod. “Where else do you trust people if not in a church environment?”
Last November, Herr was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.
Churches, synagogues and temples of every size have been victims because many don’t have checks and balances when it comes to money, experts said.