Police & Courts

Former church treasurer accused of embezzling $300K pleads not guilty

Posted: Mar. 19, 2018 5:00 pm

ST. LOUIS -- The Hannibal man accused of embezzling more than $300,000 from a rural Hannibal church has pleaded not guilty to two counts of wire fraud.

Court records show Donald R. White, 68, entered the plea Monday in U.S. District Court. He will appear in court May 9 for an evidentiary hearing.

White, who was indicted earlier this month, is accused of taking $320,888 from the church for his personal benefit and the benefit of others. White was treasurer of the church from January 1994 through December 2016.

The charges allege he wrote a check from the church's checking account to Walmart for $350 on April 19, 2016, for his personal benefit, and a check from the church's account to Fidelity Investments for $3,000 for his personal benefit.

The indictment alleges White was an authorized signatory on the church's checking account, wrote most of the checks from the account and made the vast majority of all the deposits without approval or oversight from other church members.

After White's arrest, Ralls County Sheriff Gerry Dinwiddie said that White was arrested following an extensive investigation that was conducted in wake of the Dec. 20, 2016, fire that destroyed the church. The fire was deemed suspicious in nature.

White was suspected of being involved in a large-scale theft of church funds just prior to the fire, Dinwiddie said.

White remains free after posting $10,000 bond.

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