Lutherans Say They Were Bamboozled

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – A Lutheran church sued its treasurer, claiming he embezzled $1.1 million – some of which he spent to buy land from a distant monastery.
     Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, of Las Vegas, sued Gregory R. Olson and Wells Fargo Bank, in Clark County Court.
     The church claims it hired Olson as its treasurer in May 2005, and he was embezzling before he’d been there a year.
     “From January 3, 2006 to September 18, 2009, defendant Olson without plaintiff Lutheran Church’s approval, drew several checks from the account of plaintiff Lutheran Church in the amount of $1,123,279.84 for his own personal use,” the complaint states.
     The church claims Olson took out five mortgages against church property without its permission and without notifying it.
     It claims that Olson was involved in a lawsuit about a property he had defaulted on, and he used some of the embezzled money to pay his legal expenses. He also bought a 2.5-acre parcel of land and told Amazing Grace he used his own money, according to the complaint.
     The church claims it lost title to its property through foreclosure, thanks to Olson’s embezzlement.
     To top it off, Olson bought land from a monastery with the stolen money, according to the complaint.
     “On or about June 25, 2009, defendant Olson purchased, without plaintiff Lutheran Church’s approval, and in plaintiff Lutheran Church’s name, a parcel of land from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Monastery in Carmel, CA. He then proceeded to take out a mortgage on this property. He also convinced the monastery to subordinate a second mortgage to him in the amount of $370,000.00. He used the funds from this second mortgage to pay off the first and second mortgages on the monastery parcel for approximately one year. Defendant Olson’s intention was to hold onto the property for a year and then resell it so that he could recoup the losses plaintiff Lutheran Church had incurred because of the above transactions in the Bruce Street property [in Las Vegas].”
     The church found out about the embezzlement in September 2009 and fired him, according to the complaint.
     It seeks damages for breach of contract and breach of faith, against Olson and the bank.
     It is represented by Robert J. Flummerfelt with Canon Law Services of Las Vegas.

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