The Catholic Diocese of Des Moines says thieves were able to electronically steal over $600,000 from one of the organizations bank accounts. Diocese spokeswoman, Anne Marie Cox, says they were notified by the bank on August 17th. Cox says as soon as the learned about the fraud, they closed all the relevant accounts and began looking at recovering the funds.

The F.B.I. is investigating and the U.S. Treasury has been notified, and Cox says it looks as though all the proper procedures were followed and no bank staff or diocese employees are believed to be involved. Cox says they also want to reassure donors they are safe.

Cox says the bank has assured them that no donor accounts that use automatic donation have been compromised. “Law enforcement tells us that we seem to have been victim of a highly sophisticated operation,” Cox says. Cox says they are working to get all the money back.

She says the bank has been able to recover $180,000 and they’ve notified their insurance carrier and hope to recover all funds. The Diocese of Des Moines includes 82 parishes in 23 counties in central and southwest Iowa.