Church feels betrayed by manager
More than $50,000 was allegedly taken in a series of thefts
A former member of the Windward Unity Church, Kimberly Wheeler served as an assistant office manager for four months, then moved up to office manager for the next eight months.
In that one year, Wheeler went on a crime spree that left the Kailua church more than $50,000 in the hole and reeling from her betrayal, said the Rev. David McClure.
An Oahu grand jury indicted Wheeler on Wednesday with first-degree theft, second-degree identity theft and three counts of second-degree theft that allegedly occurred between Feb. 24, 2005, and Feb. 13, 2006.
"She used my name to get a credit card and charged items to that credit card," McClure said.
She also opened a line of credit and charged items on a number of accounts, he said. Wheeler also used one of the church's credit accounts to buy personal items and took cash from the church's checking account, McClure said.
The estimated $50,000 theft does not include cash that had not made it into the church's books, he said.
Wheeler was terminated in February 2006 immediately after the church learned what was going on. The church's income had gone down tremendously, "and we couldn't understand why," McClure said. "It had a tremendous impact on the church financially and caused us to fall back on a number of financial commitments."
The church has since been able to recover financially, but the betrayal of trust by one of their own people was devastating, McClure said.
The experience did, however, bring people closer together and allowed them to grow and learn a lot because of it, he said.
The church has since established new security measures to prevent theft from happening again.
As to the criminal case, "we hope that it doesn't come to a trial and she'll confess her issues and plead guilty," McClure said.
Wheeler's whereabouts are unknown.