The former treasurer of a northwest Iowa church has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly half-a-million dollars from the church.

The theft occurred over a 13 year period. Sixty-five-year-old Andrew Matheason of Graettinger was the treasurer at Bethel Lutheran Church in Graettinger. Matheason admits he submitted false financial reports to church leaders to hide his transactions.

Prosecutors say Matheason not only wrote checks to himself, he set up electronic payments from the church’s accounts to pay his credit card bills. He also wrote church checks to a fake company he had established.

The date for Matheason’s sentencing has not been set. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to a quarter of a million dollars.