GREENCASTLE -- Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church has filed a civil suit against Melynda J. "Mindy" Fenwick, the former secretary who is currently serving a prison sentence for stealing more than $300,000 from the church.
Fenwick, 37, was convicted of six counts of Class C felony forgery and six counts of Class D felony theft. On Nov. 23, Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley sentenced Fenwick to 10 years in prison, to be followed by five years on probation.
No court dates have been set in the civil suit. Along with Fenwick, several members of her family -- including her husband and children -- are named as respondents.
Also named as respondents in the suit are First National Bank of Greencastle and Old National Bank.
"We're basically trying to do our responsibility as good stewards to recover as much of the stolen funds as possible through whatever means possible," said Gobin spokesperson Jeff Hansen.
Hansen wanted to clarify a point -- that the church is not suing or going after the assets of Fenwick's family unless it can be proved that those assets rightfully belong to Gobin.
"By naming several members of her family, that allows us to look and see if she deposited money in another account under someone else's name," Hansen said. "We're not trying to recover money from her children that is theirs. If it's determined that she didn't deposit any money in their names, they'll probably be dropped from the suit.
"We know people are thinking, 'Why are they suing these kids?'" Hansen continued. "We don't want the kids' money; we just want back what's rightfully ours. If it's not there, we're out of luck. But I don't know how anyone could object to us taking what was ours in the first place."
Hansen said the banks were named because "We feel like they have some liability in not being more careful about what was going on."
Hansen said one of the methods Fenwick used to steal Gobin's money was to transfer it from one of Gobin's money market accounts into her personal checking account. Hansen said the bank allowed Fenwick to make transfers that she was not authorized to make.
"Of course, they disagree, but we think we have an argument," Hansen said.
Tom Washburn, attorney for Old National, said he would not comment on pending litigation.
"I do want it said that Old National did not do anything wrong," he said.
Fenwick was employed by Gobin as administrative financial secretary from late 2004 to August 2009. She admitted she had, from Jan. 1, 2005 to Aug. 11, 2009, made out checks to herself and then signed the name of Mildred See, who had the authority to sign the checks. Furthermore, she admitted she had committed theft from the church, by taking the money, over the same period of time.
Fenwick also said she had stolen more than $100,000 from the church over the period, constituting the one Class C felony theft charge.
The final charge springs from the more than $10,000 in unauthorized purchases Fenwick made on the church's Wal-Mart credit card.
In court, Fenwick admitted to doctoring the church's financial statements to cover up the thefts.
Fenwick was arrested Aug. 11 after discrepancies surfaced during an audit of the books at Gobin.