Church Bookkeeper Pleads Not Guilty to Theft Charges
ALBERT LEA -- A bookkeeper has pleaded not guilty to charges that she stole nearly $200,000 from a Catholic church and school in Albert Lea.
Thirty-seven-year-old Ryan Mae McFarland of Austin entered her plea Thursday in Freeborn County District Court.
McFarland is charged with nine felony counts of theft by swindle. She was in charge of payroll and church contributions. A criminal complaint says McFarland transferred funds from St. Theodore Catholic Church and its school to her personal accounts
The alleged theft reportedly took place from August 2013 through Feb. 5, 2014.
Judge Steven Schwab ordered McFarland to have no contact with church personnel or staff and to stay away from the church. McFarland due back in court on Aug. 4 for a settlement conference.