Gallatin church daycare employee steals $35K - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gallatin church daycare employee steals $35K

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GALLATIN, TN (WSMV) -

Church is a place where a lot of people find the strength to resist their temptations. For one woman, the temptation of easy cash from her church job was too much.

Donna Gregory was arrested Thursday for stealing $35,000 from the Gallatin Church of Christ Day Care, a place she had worked for over 14 years.

The pastor of the church declined an interview Friday, but did tell us over the phone that the arrest came as a disappointing surprise to many at the church.

At the daycare center, it was Gregory's job to track the finances. However, she admitted she violated the church's trust for her own benefit.

"It was a sophisticated way to steal the money and cover her tracks," said TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm.

Gregory had worked at the Gallatin Church of Christ Day Care since the late 1990s.

Two years ago, as Gregory told the TBI, a financial hardship led her to start stealing in a sophisticated ploy designed as a cover-up.

The TBI arrested Gregory Thursday shortly after the Sumner County grand jury indicted her on a single charge of felony theft.

"She was actually taking money from the parents of the children who were attending daycare there," said Helm. "She would generate a computerized receipt for them. Then, instead of depositing those funds into the daycare's checking account, she would go into their record-keeping system, show that those funds had been previously deposited and then deposit those funds for her own personal use."

A church audit revealed the problem earlier this year after which the district attorney requested a TBI investigation.

From there, it did not take long to piece together the details, especially since the woman accused, confessed and resigned.

Gregory remains out on bond tonight. She politely declined to comment when we visited her at her home on Friday.

If convicted of this felony charge, she could face up to several years in prison.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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