FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A former church official at Mount Bethel Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale is accused of stealing more than $125,000 from the church.
That includes $27,000 in a fund for a summer feeding program needy children, according to Fort Lauderdale Police.
In an arrest report, Fort Lauderdale Police say Robert Mosley, the former chief financial officer at the Mount Bethel Baptist Church, set up a company earlier this year and started quietly but persistently stealing money from the church.
Mosley’s lawyer, however, says this was actually a repayment to Mosley for money he loaned to the needy church.
Fort Lauderdale Police detective Jesse Gossman says he was surprised by how much money Mosley is accused of stealing from the church this past January.
“Just over $100,000 in a one month period,” Gossman said
Gossman said Mosley was initially hired to handle the church’s summer feeding program that provides healthy meals to needy kids during the summer months.
Mosley is accused of stealing more than $27,000 from that program on top of the $100,000 he’s accused of stealing in church funds in the form of checks he wrote to his own company.
“They were checks that were written out to his company, which he created, RMC Collectons, LLC, and that company was created a day prior to the first check that was issued to RMC Collections,” Gossman said.
Church officials declined to speak to CBS4 News on camera but they did provide a statement:
“We are extremely disappointed that, while working for Mount Bethel, Robert Mosley betrayed our trust and compromised our system by embezzling funds from our ministry. We have turned this matter over to the legal system and we will await the outcome.”
Pastor Constance Harvey from Rose of Sharon Christian Assembly Church in Detroit, Michigan told CBS4 News that several years ago Robert Mosley worked with her church and others offering to audit their books and write grants for a summer feeding program there.
Harvey believed something was up with Mosley’s plan, because she said the churches are reimbursed by state and federal agencies for their costs and do not need to pay for grant writing or auditing.
She says she told other churches not to trust Mosley.
“I began warning other churches that he was in association with that, ‘Come on, now, this is not right,’” she said.
Harvey said Mosley still owes her several hundred dollars.
Dameka Davis is Mosley’s attorney, representing Mosley on the charges filed in Broward. She said he is not guilty.
“Mr. Mosley is guilty of being a faithful parishioner of this church,” she said. “He loved this church. Mr. Mosley was trying everything he could do to keep this church fiscally sound and the evidence will prove that.”
Instead, Davis said Mosley lent the church money and was simply taking his repayment.
“Mr. Mosley was lending the church money so that they could remain financially able to conduct business,” she said.
But the pastor of Mount Bethel Baptist Church, Bishop C.E. Glover, told CBS 4 News that is false. Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Gossman said he’s seen no evidence of that either.
“In speaking to everyone at the church, they all confirm that’s not true,” Gossman said.
Gossman said that as of a few months ago, Mosley was still involved with or working for several other churches in Broward and Miami-Dade. Detective Gossman offered a warning to those churches.
“I would encourage them to look closely at their records and if they see something that doesn’t look right to them to contact their local police department,” Gossman said.