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Warrant issued for ex-employee accused of embezzling more than $253,000 from Catholic church in Del City

Bralley
Bralley

DEL CITY — An arrest warrant has been issued for a former church employee accused of embezzling more than $253,000 from St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Del City.

Darla Dee Bralley, 56, of Newcastle, was fired in January after the alleged embezzlement was detected and investigated, said Diane Clay, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

"Insurance will cover the funds and an outside accounting firm has established improved financial practices at the parish to reduce the chances of such a crime from happening in the future,” Clay said.

Bralley worked for the church as an administrative assistant and bookkeeper, Del City police said.

She is accused of embezzling money in a variety of ways, including overpaying herself and "using church funds to pay for multiple credit card accounts, personal utility accounts, numerous Amazon purchases, home improvements and several other things," Del City police said in a news release.

Detectives also discovered that some of Bralley's immediate family members were beneficiaries of bank drafts written on a church account, police said.

According to Bralley's arrest warrant affidavit, church officials became suspicious when the human resources director for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City was reviewing a long-term disability claim by Bralley.

The director discovered Bralley had issued herself three payroll checks totaling $10,642.53 for the months of October, November and December of 2019, while at the same time receiving short-term disability payments, the affidavit states.

The chairman of the church's financial committee then began reviewing bank statements and "discovered a significant amount of charges that appeared to be unauthorized," a police investigator said.

Bralley had worked at the parish since 2011, Clay said.

Police allege the embezzlement began in 2014 when Bralley is accused of taking $15,143.75. The amount allegedly stolen grew progressively larger each year before reaching a peak of $82,405.21 in 2018. The amount dropped back down to $46,672.69 in 2019.

"The final total taken was approximately $253,880.33, which includes the money taken through payroll checks," police allege.

Randy Ellis

For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two... Read more ›

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