MILTON, Fla. (WKRG) — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement charged a woman with grand theft after a Milton Church was defrauded out of $164,716.

Lisa Michelle Hively, 55, was charged with one count of organized schemes to defraud and one count of grand theft. Hively was arrested after investigators opened up an investigation into the finances of Faith Baptist Church and Faith Bible College.

Investigators were looking into allegations of embezzlement by church employees. Florida agents determined Hively embezzled $164,716 from her employer from 2015 to 2021.

Hively started working as a secretary for the church and Bible college back in 2008. One of Hively’s duties as secretary was to write checks for the church, giving her access to the church’s accounts and financial records.

Agents discovered Hively would write checks from the church or Bible College and deposit them into her personal bank account.  An estimated 232 checks from FBC and Faith Bible College were made out to Hively and her husband, who was assistant pastor of the church at the time of the thefts.

To cover up the theft, Hively would “[alter] the church’s financial ledger to disguise the payments.” Currently, Hively is booked into the Santa Rosa County jail on a $30,000 bond.

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