(RNS) — Staff at the Florida Baptist Convention thought they were sending mission money to help pay for church planting.Then the money disappeared.
“The Florida Baptist Convention continues to work with federal and state investigators, our internal and external auditors to recover over $700,000 in funds stolen from the convention through cyber-targeting,” according to an update on the convention’s website Monday (May 15).
Florida Baptist officials first announced they’d been a victim of fraud on Wednesday but had not shared the scope of the loss. The announcement on the convention’s website was updated after Religion News Service asked leaders at the convention to confirm the size of the loss.
The Florida Baptists are one of more than 40 state conventions affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. The funds were meant to go to the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, which partners with the Florida Baptists on church planting.
That process was interrupted when the Florida Baptist staff received an email that claimed to be from NAMB but was not and requested funds be sent to a new account number. The fraudulent email reflected “a general knowledge of the communications and practice between the SBC entity and the convention.”
“An investigation is being launched to determine how this knowledg …
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