A 48-year-old New Brighton man was sentenced on Friday to 10 years of supervised probation in connection with the theft in excess of $33,000 from November 2018 through May 2019 from the Mendota Heights Catholic church where he was employed as the director of operations.
Christopher Paul Seiple pleaded guilty in Dakota County District Court on Dec. 11, 2019, to three counts of theft by swindle.
Seiple was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $118,162.02, serve 30 days in jail and 30 days of electronic home monitoring.
On July 3, 2019, law enforcement responded to a report of suspected theft from a church in Mendota Heights. An individual conducting an audit of the church’s financial records discovered several suspicious transactions involving Seiple. Several checks issued to vendors by Seiple on behalf of the church were for invoices that had already been paid. These checks were deposited using a mobile application into Seiple’s personal account.
Seiple admitted to law enforcement that he had issued several checks to vendors on behalf of the church but had deposited the checks into his own bank account. He also admitted these checks were unauthorized and fraudulent. The approximate amount of suspicious checks from Nov. 10, 2018, to May 24, 2019, was over $33,000. Seiple told investigators that he was behind on his mortgage and had been purchasing up to $400 worth of scratch off lottery tickets a day.
“We are pleased to have brought this former church employee to justice in this theft from a faith institution which was in part motivated by gambling,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said.
Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorney Mary Russell, who prosecuted the case. Backstrom thanked the Mendota Heights Police Department for their thorough investigation of this matter.