Forensic Audit Discovers Misuse of GBOD Funds

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) announced this afternoon that a forensic audit had revealed a misuse of funds by a former staff member, the Rev. Sungnam Choi, who was the Director of Korean American and Asian Ministries for GBOD between 2003 and 2010. According to GBOD, these funds were used for personal gain.

In their statement, GBOD reported that the “…misuse of funds was suspected when GBOD replied to a group applying for a new Racial Ethnic Local Church Concerns grant that their application would not be considered because they had not filed a report for a previously funded ministry project grant. The group applying for the grant replied that they knew nothing about the previously funded project.”

The General Board of Discipleship reported that they took immediate action to investigate the situation, and engaged in a nearly year-long intensive forensic audit to determine whether the suspected misuse of funds could be substantiated.

When asked about the amount of funds misappropriated, Steve Horswill-Johnston, Executive Director of the GBOD Communications Office stated that upon the recommendation of the Board’s Audit Committee, the General Board of Discipleship’s Executive Committee has instructed the Board’s legal counsel to transfer the results of the findings of the forensic investigation to the appropriate law enforcement bodies, and that as such they would be unable to provide any additional details about the case.

“GBOD takes its stewardship of church funds very seriously,” says Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, President of GBOD’s Board of Directors. She further states, “The established processes of the Board worked to uncover this misuse of funds, and the Board has initiated a review of grant procedures to make them even more secure going forward.”

The forensic audit found irregularities in grant applications involving proposed ministry projects designed to benefit Korean American United Methodist churches and communities. Four grants were identified for which the monies were not used for the purposes outlined in the grant applications and were directed to Sungnam Choi personally. Several additional grants had irregularities that raise further questions related to Choi’s personal involvement in and usage of the distributed funds.

Choi was employed by the agency from November 3, 2003, to June 30, 2010, as Director of Korean American and Asian Ministries at GBOD. As a part of his work, Choi provided staff support to the Board’s Committee on Racial Ethnic Local Church Concerns charged with distribution of funds to support racial ethnic ministry programs. Choi has subsequently surrendered his credentials and returned some of the funds.

Choi’s last known position was as the pastor of the Korean Community Church of New Jersey United Methodist. According to a letter to the editor at, Rev. Choi was removed on January 20 from this position by Bishop John Schol of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. When asked about Rev. Choi’s status, Bishop Schol replied: “This has been a painful and challenging matter.  Mr. Choi surrendered his credentials in March of 2013 and exited the United Methodist Church.  I’m grateful for the careful review by the General Board of Discipleship.”

Leave a Reply

The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
GBOD agrees to restitution with former stafferkairostorch Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

[…] as the General Board of Discipleship) released a statement today outlining the resolution of a dispute involving the misuse of funds by former staff member Sungnam Choi. Choi served as the director Korean American and Asian […]


It only takes nine months to have a baby–why would we take a year to do an audit? What, if any, action will be taken against Mr. Choi to recover the remaining missing money?

%d bloggers like this: