By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A woman is accused of stealing more than $20,000 from a church where she worked in Meeker County.

Authorities said 52-year-old Renee Miller took money from various accounts at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Watkins. She’s also accused of writing paychecks to herself for more than she was owed. As Kate Raddatz shows us, it took years before the church caught on.

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Miller was a secretary at St Anthony’s Catholic Church for 15 years. During that time, according to court documents, Miller stole more than $21,000 from the parish.

“Currently there’s 10 felony counts, additional company paychecks were issued to her by herself,” Detective Dan Lang said.

Lang, with the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, said authorities caught on last year when they say Miller didn’t pay the church’s taxes. The Internal Revenue Service issued a tax levy on the church’s bank account.

When the issue was brought up, investigators said Miller immediately resigned. That’s when church officials looked into financial records and discovered the missing funds.

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“We were able to go back to 2008, so during that time period between 2008 and 2014 is when the checks were forged and issued to her,” Lang said.

Miller wasn’t home when we stopped by for comment. The church released a statement saying, “We are thankful for the guidance and expertise of our local law enforcement agencies and the support of the Diocese of New Ulm.”

Detective Lang said he isn’t aware if Miller had used the money for any particular purpose.

“Especially in an environment such as a church not just taken from a private entity you know taken from a membership of hundreds,” Lang said.

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Miller is due back in court in March. If convicted on all felony counts, she faces up to 100 years in prison.

Kate Raddatz