Pastor allegedly shopped with church’s money

Pastor Gary Petersen. (Courtesy Wellspring Church video podcast)

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan pastor’s embezzlement case is headed to trial.

Thursday, Gary Peterson was bound over to circuit court following a preliminary hearing in Ottawa County District Court in Hudsonville.

Authorities say Petersen stole several thousand dollars from Wellspring Church in Hudsonville, where he previously worked. He allegedly used church funds to pay off a credit card he had opened in the church’s name without authorization.

The Thursday preliminary hearing revealed allegations that he put multiple charges on that card, including about $230 at Victoria’s Secret. There were also allegedly charges at Macy’s, Red Lobster, Marshalls, Aldo Shoes, Express, Blockbuster and Carrabba’s, among others.

It was previously reported that Petersen allegedly used it to pay for a cruise he took with his wife and a room upgrade at a Colorado resort.

Thursday, Wellspring’s finance committee chairman testified that he found more than $18,000 in questionable expenses.

The prosecutor says Petersen used the card like a personal ATM.

Petersen’s attorney argued that other church staff had the card number to buy things with Petersen’s permission. He said they could have made any of those questionable purchases.

Petersen faces two counts of embezzlement between $1,000 and $20,000.

He is currently the pastor at The Rock Church in Grandville.

No one answered Petersen’s door when 24 Hour News 8 went to his house Thursday seeking comment. The Rock Church has also declined to comment.

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