Status conference held in church embezzlement case

New forensic accounting report to be reviewed

CENTREVILLE — A brief status conference was held in St. Joseph County Circuit Court Monday in a church embezzlement case involving a Centreville public official.

Carol Kotschevar, the current Centreville village treasurer, made her first in-person court appearance Monday in the embezzlement case against her. She is charged with two counts of embezzlement of over $20,000 and less than $50,000 in two cases from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Colon and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Centreville, which allegedly occurred in her role as the Centreville church’s treasurer between December 2015 and December 2019. Kotschevar previously pled not guilty to those charges and later waived a preliminary hearing.

Kotschevar’s attorney, Kurt Richardson, told Circuit Court Judge Paul Stutesman he had recently obtained a new forensic accounting report in the case that is expected to be reviewed by both him and the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office. Chief Assistant Prosecutor Gary Gabry said his goal at this point would be to discuss the report and talk to Richardson about the case in the next 30 to 45 days to “work at a resolution.” However, if a resolution or plea agreement is not reached before the next status conference in September, the case could go to trial, with the status conference then being used to discuss the logistics of witnesses and evidence.

If it does go to trial, Richardson told the court he expects “numerous” witnesses. He added that St. Joseph County Prosecutor David Marvin told him he’d ask for jail time with any potential plea deal, if one is offered.

A trial date was originally scheduled for Aug. 31, but is expected to be postponed pending the outcome of discussions and the next status conference. If convicted, Kotschevar could face 10 years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine, or three times the amount embezzled.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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