Former Southern Virginia church accountant sentenced to 5 years in prison for stealing $177,000

By ENS staff
Posted Nov 2, 2023

[Episcopal News Service] The former accountant of an Episcopal church in the Diocese of Southern Virginia was sentenced last week to five years in prison for stealing $177,000 from the church – including by pocketing some of the money given by worshipers in the church’s Sunday offering.

Andrew Patrick Landsperger, 46, was fired in August 2022 after the theft was discovered at Galilee Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach. He pleaded guilty in July 2023 to embezzlement and credit card fraud and was sentenced on Oct. 25.

Prosecutors said Landsperger used a church credit card to make personal purchases totaling nearly $35,000, and through his access the church’s payroll system, he inflated his own salary to collect an additional $135,000 in pay.

The theft from the offering plate totaled an estimated $7,000. Prosecutors determined that the church had been depositing about $450 a week from the offering, but that amount dropped to under $200 a week after Landsperger was entrusted to handle the money.

The church was able to recoup $122,000 in losses from its insurance policy and credit card company, according to prosecutors. Circuit Court Judge James Lewis ordered Landsperger to pay the church the remaining $64,000 and an additional $100,000 to its insurance company.

The judge handed down a total prison sentence of 10 years but suspended half of the sentence, so Landsperger is expected to serve only five of those years behind bars. “This sentence exceeds the high end of the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines, which recommended a sentence no greater than four years and two months,” prosecutors said in their news release.