|Leon Brink, aka Leon Piepenbrink|
served as an administrator and professor in a Bible college and seminary program designed for Asian students, coordinated with Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, WI. The program served Asian ministry students (Hmong, Lao, Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans) in Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, Washington, Nevada, Kansas, and Thailand. He also served as coordinator/director for Asian mission work around the U.S. and Thailand. In addition, he worked with China Partners to make teaching trips to seminaries and Bible colleges in China. He has taught seminary level courses in Systematic Theology, Hermeneutics, Church History, Old Testament Hebrew, and New Testament Greek.
Friday, April 27, 2012
St. Paul man pleads guilty to stealing from Lutheran synod - TwinCities.com:
St. Paul man pleads guilty to stealing from Lutheran synod
By Maricella Miranda
Posted: 04/27/2012 12:01:00 AM CDT
Updated: 04/27/2012 05:41:47 PM CDT
A church official who worked in Inver Grove Heights believed he was in "confession" when he admitted to stealing at least $62,500 from the nation's third-largest Lutheran synod.
But Dakota County District Court didn't consider the conversation Leon E. Piepenbrink, 52, had with at least four church officials to be a "privileged conversation," said Kenneth Udoibok, Piepenbrink's attorney. Instead, the confession was used as evidence.
Authorities now say Piepenbrink stole $300,000 from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, which employed him for five years as an Asian ministry coordinator.
"He believed he was in confession," Udoibok said. "When you go to church and confess your sins, and your minister takes the information and gives it to police - it's appalling."
Piepenbrink, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty Friday, April 27, to seven felony charges of theft by swindle. He is scheduled for sentencing July 17.
According to Minnesota sentencing guidelines, Piepenbrink could spend up to two years and three months in prison, said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.'
The charges allege Piepenbrink stole in excess of $62,500, and Backstrom said he plans to ask the court to order that Piepenbrink pay $301,581 in restitution.
"This is a major economic theft," Backstrom said.
Piepenbrink, who worked with the Hmong community from an office at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Inver Grove Heights, was fired in August 2010 when allegations arose. The thefts took place from 2007 to 2010.
Police began investigating him after the president of the Milwaukee-based synod noticed suspicious activity, according to a criminal complaint filed in May 2011.
Piepenbrink told church leaders his safety was threatened by people in the community he was working with, the charges said. Piepenbrink said he was shot at from a vehicle in June 2010 when he was driving on Minnesota 55 near Hastings. He asked the church to reimburse him for security upgrades, such as bulletproof glass and a gun.
The church soon learned that his claims were fabricated. When questioned by church leaders, Piepenbrink admitted to stealing money from the synod, the complaint said.
Piepenbrink managed funds primarily through the synod's operating budget.
While reviewing bank statements with a financial officer for the synod, Piepenbrink identified transactions for personal use, which were not approved by the synod.
Piepenbrink also said he made up stories about his safety concerns.
Udoibok said Piepenbrink didn't spend the money for personal gain. Instead, he used the money on at least six needy families and on recruiting a pastor from Laos.
Piepenbrink "has a soft heart," Udoibok said. "He doesn't belong in prison."
Whatever the money was for, Backstrom said, Piepenbrink obtained it fraudulently.
After the charges were filed, the synod released a statement saying it had taken precautions to ensure that internal controls exist for funds nationally and internationally. The thefts by Piepenbrink were a"unique and isolated incident in which someone had direct access to synod funds without proper protocols and oversight," the statement said.
The synod is a fellowship of about 1,279 churches and 389,545 members in 48 states, the group reported.
Piepenbrink trained leaders and pastors for non-English speaking Asians across the country, a church spokesman said. Piepenbrink was ordained as a pastor in 1986.
See also - http://www.atoast2wealth.com/tag/leon-piepenbrink/
'via Blog this'
GJ - WELS members - Aren't you glad SP Schroeder spent $250,000 on software to track synodical money better? That happened as soon as he took office. He should have called back the synod treasurer who found that staffers had taken the MLC chapel fund, some $8 million. That was under Gurgle.
The initial figure for Piepenbrink was impressive, but $300,000? The entire synod staff should resign. They cannot handle a real estate deal or manage their own people.
It is safe to say that anyone in American or world missions is a Church Shrinker. The main speaker at the Kelm "Leadership" Conference at WLC is in charge of the Third World Skim Program. You should hear the stories. I am guessing that Thrivent is funding some of this, but loot is loot. Stolen Thrivent loot is still money taken under false pretenses.
WELS members and pastors should de-fund the synod until sincere repentance is evidenced. So far, under Schroeder, each new scandal is just another opportunity to spin the news for people with short-term memories.
The trouble is - GA teaches seminarians to lie, and UOJ gives them an excuse for it.