Punta Gorda woman charged with stealing over $20,000 from church

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Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 3:33 pm

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Investigators have arrested a woman they say made unauthorized credit card purchases on a church account and made checks payable to herself totaling over $20,000.

61-year-old Linda Bischoff was arrested Monday and charged with Grand Theft and Scheme to Defraud.

According to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, Bischoff was the secretary at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Port Charlotte but resigned in June 2013.

Her replacement discovered numerous discrepancies in the finances, causing the church to hire an outside auditor.  Their audit discovered over $18,000 in purchases from Sam's Club, as well as purchases from Ace Hardware, Home Depot, and Staples, all allegedly made by Bischoff.  The purchases for reportedly for the church's children's ministry, but the items were never received.

Nine unauthorized checks were also paid out to Bischoff totaling over $2,000.

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