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COURT DOCUMENTS: Pastor's wife admits to stealing church funds to buy drugs

We now have more information surrounding the arrest of a former church employee.

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 4:07 PM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 5:35 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - We now have more information surrounding the arrest of a former church employee.

On Friday, police arrested 42-year-old Heather Riggs.

Riggs was an employee of Victory Christian Church in Seelyville.

According to court documents, the investigation started about two weeks ago when police arrested Jason Reed after a traffic stop.

Reed was in possession of a controlled substance.

Police say Reed told investigators he was selling drugs to Heather Riggs, adding she was using the church's money to buy the heroin and pills.

Reed told police he was the pastor of the church's wife.

Reed agreed to let police download the information from his cell phone.

Police say they found text conversations on Reed's phone dating back to November of 2016.

Those conversations allegedly discussed different locations to meet and the prices for the drug purchases.

While looking through the church's bank records, police found 14 different occasions where Riggs wrote a check to Reed.

Police also learned Riggs wrote 140 checks to herself.

On Friday, police began to question Heather and her husband Shawn Riggs.

Shawn told police for a check to be written, there needed to be two separate signatures.

Shawn said there were three deacons at the church who could sign a check.

Shawn told police after an accountant left the church in 2016, Heather and youth pastor Jared Smith took over the church's financial responsibilities.

Smith died after a heroin overdose in November of 2016, leaving Heather in charge of the money.

Shawn told police he was not aware of Heather's heroin addiction.

He said he had not received a paycheck in several months, and didn't question it because of the church's financial issues. 

When police started interviewing Heather, she said she first started talking to Reed in February of 2017, saying she met him while playing softball with the church team.

That is when police told her they had the phone records.

Police say Heather began talking with Reed the day after youth pastor Jared Smith passed away.

Investigators say Heather changed her story, saying she got Reed's phone number from Smith's cell phone and contacted him after Smith's death to buy oxycodone.

She told police the first time she started using heroin was in a gas station parking lot in February 2017.

She told investigators she used church money to buy the drugs, telling police she forged the signature of her husband or one of the deacons to write the checks.

She admitted to falsifying the church ledger to hide her theft.

Heather said she wrote checks to her husband and then cashed them without his knowledge.

She admitted to taking a total of around $75,000, taking all of the blame.

She said nobody else was involved in the theft.

When police asked her about two different occasions where she took two small children she was babysitting with her to Reed's house to buy heroin, she said she only remembered doing it once.

Heather was arrested and charged with theft, check fraud, forgery, neglect of a dependent, dealing a Schedule I,II, or III controlled substance, and dealing a Schedule IV controlled substance.

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