Pastor arraigned on embezzlement charges

Pastor Gary Petersen. (Courtesy Wellspring Church video podcast)

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan pastor was arraigned on two felony embezzlement charges Wednesday.

According to court documents, Gary Petersen allegedly used money from his former church in Hudsonville to pay for personal vacations without the church’s knowledge.

Last week, the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office authorized two counts of embezzlement between $1,000 and $20,000 against Petersen. He is the current pastor of The Rock Church in Grandville and former pastor at Wellspring Church in Hudsonville.

Petersen didn’t say much during his arraignment on the embezzlement charges in Hudsonville District Court Wednesday. A preliminary hearing date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, Peterson is accused of opening an American Express credit card at Costco in the name of the church that only he was authorized to use, without the knowledge of the church’s financial committee.

In addition, Petersen is accused of using the card to pay for a trip he took with his wife in 2010, which included a cruise and airfare that totaled $1,416, the documents show.

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