A New Brighton man will spend 10 years on probation for stealing over $33,000 from a historic Mendota Heights church while he was working as a church administrator.
Christopher Paul Seiple, 48, pleaded guilty last December to three of four felony counts of theft-by-swindle and was sentenced on Friday in Dakota County court.
According to the original charges, Seiple was accused of stealing the funds from St. Peter’s Catholic Church between November 2018 through May 2019 while he was employed as the Director of Operations for the church, which is the oldest Catholic church in Minnesota.
An individual conducting an audit of the church’s financial records discovered several suspicious transactions involving Seiple and contacted police in July 2019. 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 the checks were unauthorized and fraudulent. Seiple told investigators that he was behind on his mortgage and had been purchasing up to $400 worth of scratch off tickets a day.
Seiple received a stay-of-imposition on all three counts he pleaded guilty to, and was sentenced to the 10-year supervised probation term by Judge Timothy McManus. The fourth felony count was dismissed at sentencing.
Seiple was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $118,162.02 and will be required to serve 30 days on electronic home monitoring, which is not required to begin until Aug. 1, according to the court record.
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