WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A woman has been charged with theft after a year and a half long investigation.
According to Winston-Salem police, they began an investigation in January of 2021 at the request of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and members of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church on Springdale Avenue in Winston-Salem.
Information was given to police that identified Marilyn Veronica Bertelsen as a suspect. She was an employee of the church and was accused of defrauding the church while working at the Director of Finance.
Through an “extensive” investigation, police say that Bertelsen obtained $27,930.03 from St. Leo the Great Catholic Church between February of 2018 and March of 2020.
On Friday, Winston-Salem police were granted warrants for Bertelsen for three felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense. Bertelsen was arrested and given an unsecured bond of $7,500.
Father Gober of St. Leo sent this letter out to his parishioners in response to these charges:
Dear Friends in Christ,
I want to make you aware of an incident that occurred in our parish and that, thankfully, has been resolved.
Shortly after my arrival at St. Leo in August of 2020, the Diocese of Charlotte conducted a routine financial audit that found discrepancies of about $28,000 in claimed reimbursements that were paid to our former Director of Finance, Mrs. Marilyn Bertelsen. The issue was referred to the Winston-Salem Police Department for investigation. This morning, Mrs. Bertelsen was charged in connection with the matter.
Our insurance company has reimbursed the parish for the full financial loss, so we will feel no fiscal impact. Nevertheless, as part of our commitment to transparency and financial best practices, I wanted you to be informed, as soon as possible, once the investigation was concluded.
Be assured that no other former or current staff were involved in this matter in any way.
Personally, I want to say how much I appreciate your continued support since my arrival. And, while I am grateful this situation has been resolved, I am mindful of its impact on people’s lives. I kindly ask you to pray for everyone affected by this matter.
Sincerely yours in Christ,