Friday, June 24, 2005

We Three Kings Be Stealin' The Gold

A most glorious and foul example of Bobo's World:

A Grosse Pointe Woods church treasurer and mother who pleaded no contest to looting at least $700,000 from her congregation's coffers asked for forgiveness -- and probation -- on Thursday.

She didn't get it.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny threw out the sentencing guidelines, which would have seen Janis Ferworn, 45, serve no more than nine months in prison, and hammered her with a five- to 10-year prison sentence.

Ferworn, the former treasurer of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Grosse Pointe Woods, maintained her composure as sheriff's deputies escorted her away immediately.

"Mrs. Ferworn would have done far less damage if she had taken a bulldozer and knocked down the walls of the church," Kenny said. "The reality is that from 1997 through January of 2005, Mrs. Ferworn was a thief of epic proportions."

Ferworn's lawyer, Gary Wilson, noted Thursday that she has five children, including two adopted children ages 9 and 11 and another child younger than 18. The other two are adults.

"But for the two" adopted "children, I couldn't ask for probation," Wilson said. He asked Kenny "to err on the side of grace and consider my client's children."

Unmoved, the judge said Ferworn signed adoption papers with one hand and fraudulent checks with the other.


"I am horrified at what I did to my church," Ferworn said. "I pray that Christ the King will someday forgive me for these repugnant crimes."


The theft wiped out a pension for the church's emeritus pastor and hurt a church reconstruction effort and day care funding, prosecutors said. Meanwhile, they claim she lived in a $500,000 home with an in-ground pool and vacationed at a time-share in Hilton Head, S.C.

"I'd love to live in a $500,000 house," Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Donaldson said. "I've been doing this a long time, and I can't remember a more egregious violation of trust."


Ferworn swore that she kept the embezzling from her husband, who has not been charged.

Kenny found it hard to believe Roger Ferworn didn't know.

"How could anyone live under the same roof and have $700,000 of tax-free income and not have clue No. 1 that something strange was going on?" the judge said.

The pastor, Randy Boelter, said the embezzlement might turn out to exceed $1.3 million.

"The cost in time and additional resources to ensure our mere survival has been staggering," he said. "While it took Janis Ferworn seven years to systematically drain our finances, it will take us twice as long to rebuild our ministry and restore what existed."

What gets me is the "I am horrified at what I did to my church". No, you weren't, you sorry hypocritical nothing. You were sorry you got caught. If you were sorry for what you did, you wouldn't have done it to the tune of nearly three-quarters of a million dollars and then bought a big fuckin' house with it.

Where do these people come from!?

Not entirely fair, Tom. People do have internal conflicts and uncontrollable impulses. It's possible that she really is sorry, that she's had that sleep-walking feeling of not being in control of her own behavior for years and is glad that it's finally over.

Which is why being sorry is not an excuse and shouldn't reduce her sentence. Sorry or not, she did it.

I just wish there were some punishment that would actually make her a better person, instead of simply locking her away where she can't embezzle anything.
I can't feel all that sorry for her. She knew what she was doing. She could have gotten a less expensive house. That's a lot of money to steal from the church.
Her husband drove her to do this. Always wanted more and wanting people to think he was more than he was. It is his fault, he threw gas on the fire
I concur with a previous post....Roger always wanted to make himself out to be more than he is/was. He knew exactly what was going on and hopefully justice will prevail in the future.
I think she got exactly what she deserved. I am a member of the church, and graduated with her son. I can recall, as a child, being excited on Sunday mornings to take a bit of my allowance money and put it into an envelope for donations to the church. I now realize that every donation I ever gave had to have been taken by her.
I had a conversation with Mr. Ferworn a while back and heard some interesting feelings on this matter. To put it bluntly, Mr. Ferworn let his wife take the Fall for this as his career would have gone down the tubes and Mrs. Ferworn couldn't make the money Mr. Ferworn could had he been charged and convicted. Way to let your wife fall on the sword Mr. Ferworn. I do agree that he is one of those people who thinks he is a top of the world at all times and in everyone's eyes. The truth is that Mr. Ferworn is one of the BIGGEST "Scam Artists" in the world.
There should checks for all churches so that this type of scenario does not occur. An outside auditor should always be hired. If memory serves me right Mr Ferworn implored that for the church for several years. Not only that it is very possible he could not of known it was taken. I have a very good job and make great money and I have no clue on my finances because my wife handles it all. Mr Ferworn had an even better job making a ton more money then me and if you don't handle the bills then it is possible.
The big thing is yes she stole and has served 5 years in prison. I think she has paid her time in jail. Hell now a days convicted sex offender get less time. Being Christian you should forgive her. That's Christs way and if not you are truly not a follower. Forgive but don't forget. She could be doing a lot mire good in society then wasting more of our tax dollars in prison.
Alot of you people wont like me for this comment but i really dont care. i was born and raised with the catholic faith so maybe thats why i dont understand why you guys are so hateful. Maybe you read a different bible than i do. Well come on we know thats not true. Do we believe in a different god? We are given choices good and bad and it is we who decide which one to act upon. But how many sinners followed jesus? How many sinners did he forgive? im not saying that she deserved a slap on the wrist. But after 6 years and paying some of that money back...we cant change our past we can only make ourselves better for the future. We need to stop pointing the fingers like children. Yep she did it so when is it time for forgivness. I think a 6 year grudge is a little bit ridiculous dont you? I had the wonderful opportunity to meet jan she asked me why after so long the church hasnt forgiven her? I dont know. So when is it time to forgive someone?
She is not sorry. She has not changed her ways or attitude. She has shown no remorse. That is why the parole board DENIED her parole!
Don't some of you have a heart? Don't you think that her children will be reading the things you say about their mother? I know what she did was wrong, but the pain the children have to go through still should put a thought back in your head and love in your heart.....I feel sorry for those of you that judge so harshly and speak of people so badly! If anything doesn't this show to not think of yourselves but to think of what you do/say and how it can effect people in the end!?!
I know one of the children. I'm sure this whole story and the embarrassment has whiped that smug look off his face. I feel no pity for the thief or the family who was wreaping the benefits.
You unforgiving people make me sick. We all have to answer for what we do, including Jan. Those of you who are acting like there is no god, better be right for your own sake, you perfect people you.
I heard she was the escape goat for someone else in that church.
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