“Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.” - Proverbs 20:17
I’ve never tasted $35,000 worth of gravel before, but I would imagine it tastes like either pruno or an under-seasoned felony conviction.
But one individual who will have all the time in the world to find out is Donald Lee Reynolds, AKA Pastor Offering, of Edmore, North Dakota. Who apparently has spent the past 14 years robbing his congregation blind, and as a result now faces up to 10 years in prison.
The Grand Folks Herald has the scoop:
Donald Lee Reynolds, an Edmore resident who was born in 1959, is scheduled to appear at the end of the month in Ramsey County District Court on a Class B felony charge of theft.
A criminal complaint filed in late October alleges he stole $34,668. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Bishop Terry Brandt of the Eastern North Dakota Synod in Fargo confirmed the document refers to funds allegedly stolen from the High Plains Ministry, a congregation of six churches in northeast North Dakota that consolidated in 2004.
So how exactly did he pull this off?
Was he scratching serial numbers off of tambourines? Was he selling bootleg copies of BeBe and CeCe’s “Different Lifestyles”?
Pastor Offering was submitting fake charges to his parish and receiving reimbursements for his “purchases” from 2004 to 2018. And when the High Plains Ministry got hip to his scam and confronted him in June, Joanne the Scammer resigned.
But instead of letting go and letting God, High Plains Ministry is providing their full cooperation to investigators in order to personally ensure that Reynolds ends up where he belongs—Hell.
Also of note, the parish is working with insurance agents in order to minimize its financial losses.
“Mr. Reynolds violated the trust of his congregation, his colleagues and that of this entire church,” Bishop Terry Brandt said in a statement. “Though this church proclaims and lives by God’s grace, this kind of betrayal has consequences. [...] I invite prayers for the High Plains Parish, Mr. Reynold’s friends and family, his former colleagues in ministry and even for Mr. Reynolds himself.”
“The psalmist was correct in stating, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,’” he added, citing Psalm 34:18.
Neither God nor the Holy Ghost was available for comment, but it’s safe to assume they’re less than pleased.