UPDATE: Convention Leadership Statement Regarding Financial Fraud
May 15, 2023 – Update
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 cybertargeting. Additionally, despite existing security protocols, training, regular information systems upgrades, and advanced detection software, we are working to further reinforce our level of information technology security. We remain prayerful that some of this loss may be mitigated through insurance and/or the recovery of stolen funds.
May 11, 2023 – Update
As was recently announced, the Florida Baptist Convention was the victim of a highly sophisticated cyber crime which used fraudulent emails. The matter was related to our Send Network Florida account in partnership with the North American Mission Board. We are currently working with forensic auditors and legal authorities to determine how this crime occurred. Meanwhile, we remain confident in our SBC entities, their financial and structural integrity and our missional financial partnerships.
May 10, 2023 – Original Statement
We are writing to share some disheartening news with you. The Florida Baptist Convention has experienced an incident of financial fraud. The fraudulent transaction is related to a payment from our convention to one of our SBC entities. We have reported this crime to the FBI, local law enforcement, our insurance carrier, our bank, and our auditing firm.
This fraud was accomplished with a general knowledge of the communications and practice between the SBC entity and the convention. An investigation is being launched to determine how this knowledge was gained. At this time, we have no reason to suspect malfeasance by any convention employees. Nevertheless, the convention is committed to fully investigating the matter.
In addition, the State Board of Missions Administrative and Finance committees have formed a sub-committee to provide oversight to the audit investigation and recommended next steps based on the audit’s findings.
As you can imagine, our convention staff and state board of missions is distraught over this loss of financial resources. It is our desire in all that we do to bring glory to our Lord and Savior, and to continue earning the trust of the churches we serve when we distribute the sacrificial resources given through tithes and offerings. Due to the reserves already in place, the commitments we have made to support churches and cooperating ministries serving the state of Florida will all be honored.
These types of attacks continue to plague organizations of all sizes and scopes. We encourage pastors and churches to remain diligent with the security of their IT and financial systems. This specifically includes critically scrutinizing any and all requests—even those from a supposedly well-known source—that request a shift from historical payment practices.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. We covet your prayers for the convention staff and state board of missions as we navigate forward in a way that prevents financial loss in the future. We continue to stand “right beside you”, knowing that God is working mightily among our Florida Baptist churches.
Tommy Green, Executive Director- Treasurer
Aaron Burgner, President- State Board of Missions
Darren Gaddis, Chair – Finance Committee
Paul Purvis, President- Florida Baptist State Convention