Forsyth man pleads guilty in church embezzlement scheme

FORSYTH, Mo. -- A Forsyth man pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly money from a church where his father was once a pastor.

Police say James Holvick, 42, wrote himself checks and then cooked the books while working as an accountant for Riverview Bible Baptist Church. Investigators say those checks added up to almost $28,000. The pastor of the church said Holvick repaid the missing money.

Prosecutors say that someone found a check made out to Holvick in June, and began asking questions, which eventually uncovered the larger fraud. Court documents say that Holvick claimed he’d only been taking money for a year, but that checks were found dating back further than that.

Holvick’s father was pastor of Riverview Bible Baptist Church for 31 years before retiring in the late 2000’s. Pastor Brooks says his congregation was stunned when they learned of the embezzlement, but they're healing.

He will be sentenced in May.