Patricia Barlow: Over $274K Church Embezzlement For Personal Luxuries

Patricia Barlow felt the need — or rather, the greed — to embezzle funds from the Scottsville Baptist Church, in Allen County, Kentucky. And it wasn’t a one-time thing for Barlow.

The United States Attorney’s Office: Western District of Kentucky states that Patricia Barlow’s embezzlement accounts weren’t due to family emergencies or any particular hardship, for that matter. Simply, greed was the culprit in Patricia’s circumstance.

On multiple accounts, Patricia Barlow took embezzlement actions against Scottsville Baptist Church, as she held a secretarial position within the clergy. The source notes that, on various occasions, 49-year-old Barlow “made unauthorized wire transfers to pay for personal expenses using SBC funds.”

The source also states that Patricia Barlow’s embezzlement scheme actually started in January 2011. Barlow’s embezzlement game continued throughout the following years, up until Spring of 2015. That’s when she was caught. The source states as follows.

“Three of the alleged wire transfers were made on January 1…in the amount of $512.29; January 14, 2011, in the amount of $1,400; and a wire transfer of $425.00 on January 28, 2015.”

As the United States Justice Department mentions, Patricia Barlow’s embezzlement choice “wasn’t a one-time lapse in judgement.” “Barlow’s six-figure scheme involved scores of fraudulent checks, bogus credit card charges, thefts of cash donations, and false accounting entries submitted time and again over the course of four years,” says the source.

Patricia Barlow’s embezzlement funds were applied to family luxuries, such as vacations, beauty salon appointments, clothes, and jewelry. The source notes that these were all things in which Barlow’s family wouldn’t have been able to participate if it weren’t for her embezzlement actions.

Allen County News reports that Scottsville Police Detective John Rose mentioned several purchases from JC Penny and Macy’s. Also, there were various trips to Wisconsin and “different areas around the United States that the church did not make.”

For her crimes, Patricia Barlow was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, and ordered to repay $274,846 in restitution. U.S. Attorney John Kuhn stated, “The 18 month prison term imposed by Judge Stivers, reflects the seriousness of these offenses and the callous nature of the crime; while the less fortunate turn to the church for life’s necessities, Patricia Barlow stole from the church to satisfy her greed.”

However, Patricia Barlow’s attorney, Ralph Beck, protested her sentencing. He mentioned that the embezzlement case isn’t worthy of prison time since Barlow has been participating in counseling sessions and restitution efforts.

According to Bowling Green Daily News, Patricia Barlow’s attorney argued that she doesn’t have a criminal record, aside from her embezzlement charges. Also, she’s been attending ongoing therapy sessions. By Beck’s argument, Barlow’s situation supposedly shows that she can be rehabilitated without going to federal prison.

The case memorandum notes that Patricia Barlow’s attorney stated as follows about her embezzlement situation.

“Restitution is a wrongdoer’s most concrete expression of responsibility and a critical step towards rehabilitation. It serves no valid purpose to incarcerate Patricia and to remove her from her family and her community when the approximate two years called for in the sentencing guidelines could best be served, not by incurring costs for housing and feeding Mrs. Barlow in a federal facility, but instead by allowing her to work and contribute a major portion of her paycheck to the prospect of restitution.”

Likewise, according to Bowling Green Daily News, Patricia Barlow also wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers as a remorseful plea, prior to her sentencing. In regard to her embezzlement case, she noted, “I cannot put into words my shame, sorrowfulness, disappointment, regret, I could go on and on. I am not going to shy away from any actions I took/done. I am responsible for them and truly sorry.”

According to the news source, Patricia Barlow stated that her guilt is what led her to confess her embezzlement crimes. At first, she confessed to the church pastor. Then, she confessed to law enforcement officials. However, Allen County News reports that church administration approached Barlow with evidence, and she replied, “I’m not going to deny it.” At that point, law enforcement officials were notified and she was immediately fired from her position as church secretary.

All in all, what are your thoughts regarding Patricia Barlow’s embezzlement case? Do you think it’s an embezzlement situation worthy of prison time? Do you think Patricia Barlow will get out early? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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