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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Douglas Hammond Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $285,000

pastor douglas hammond

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Douglas Hammond, pastor of Olivet Assembly of God Church in Olivet, Michigan, pleaded guilty in November 2021 to embezzling $285,000 from his church.

The Lansing State Journal reports:

An Olivet pastor has pleaded guilty to embezzling $285,000 from his church, according to prosecutors. 

Douglas Hammond pleaded guilty as charged Friday to one count of embezzlement over $100,000, said Eaton County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Chris Anderson. 

Hammond stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Olivet Assembly of God Church when he was a pastor there, according to court records. The embezzlement is believed to have taken place over nearly six years, from January 2014 through November 2019, Anderson said in an email.

Hammond’s attorney, David Carter, said Hammond is not likely to be able to pay back the restitution he will owe because he is living at poverty level at the moment. 

Hammond was scheduled to go to trial earlier this year, but it was canceled and he instead pleaded guilty two months later. Carter said this is because Hammond “wanted to do what was right.” 

Carter declined to comment on why Hammond stole money from the church or what he did with the money. He said he did not have Hammond’s permission to speak about that. Carter did say, however, there were “a lot of special circumstances” with the case.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Karuna Gal

    I wonder what the “special circumstances” were for Reverend Hammond to steal so much money. A boyfriend/girlfriend? Gambling debts? Buying a fancy car or paying a drug dealer? And I bet there was no financial committee or treasurer to balance the church’s checkbooks and notice any hanky-panky with the church’s bank account.

  2. Avatar
    Brocken

    https://www.wilx.com/2022/06/15/some-level-justice-former-pastor-sentenced-embezzling-olivet-church/ This Douglas Hammond was sentenced to a term of 14 months to 20 years of. prison. The ” special circumstances” behind the embezzlement that the church members were unaware of were such things as gambling, pornography, prostitution, and drugs. At least that is what this article said were some of the circumstances behind Douglas Hammond’s embezzlement.

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Bruce Gerencser