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Woman charged with two counts of embezzlement

June 27, 2002|by KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

A Halfway woman employed as an office manager at a Hagerstown church was charged last week with embezzling more than $8,000 from the church and from a Boy Scout troop affiliated with the church.

Melissa Renee DeHaven, 33, of 10825 Lincoln Ave., was served a criminal summons charging her with two counts each of embezzlement and theft scheme over $500.

Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class Michael Kretzer said he was contacted by the Rev. David F. Schlicher, pastor of the Church of the Holy Trinity at 17805 Oak Ridge Drive, who said he thought church funds were being misappropriated.

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DeHaven worked for the church for about four years, charging documents said. She declined to comment on the charges.

Schlicher told Kretzer that an audit of the church accounts showed that $4,732 was missing.

Kretzer wrote in charging documents that when he interviewed DeHaven at the state police barrack in Hagerstown, she said her family was having financial problems.

"She then started to borrow money from the church funds with the intention of repaying the borrowed funds, however at the end of each month, was unable to repay the money she had taken," Kretzer alleged in charging documents.

Kretzer alleged in charging documents that DeHaven said the thefts had taken place from October through May.

According to allegations in court documents, DeHaven said she had dipped into proceeds from a church craft show and took $4316.60 from SHARE, a church discount food program.

She told Kretzer she used the money for "personal needs, groceries etc. and did not repay the money," the documents allege.

She also is charged in connection with funds taken from the Cub Scouts of America Pack 36, for which the church holds the charter.

DeHaven served as Pack 36 treasurer from February 2001 to April 2002, Kretzer said.

Cub Scout Committee Chairwoman Cindy Shafer told Kretzer that a $1,408 check for a fund-raiser had bounced because the funds had not been deposited, according to charging documents.

Additionally, a $769 check made out to cash, a $400 check made out to Melissa DeHaven and $702 in miscellaneous funds were taken from the Cub Scout treasury, charging documents allege.

DeHaven said she took the money from the Cub Scouts to pay personal bills, Kretzer said in charging documents.

Schlicher and Boy Scouts officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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