Cross, Kevin with Steven White. Embezzlement: A True Crime Story. Alachua: Bridge-Logos, 2010. 228 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Amazon for $10.19 or less.
Kevin Cross has already authored one insightful book, Building Your Financial Fortress in 52 Days, which I have reviewed here. In Embezzlement, we read how Kevin came to understand the biblical principles for managing money. You can find out more about Kevin’s ministry, Cross Stewardship Ministries at account417.com or read more about this book at Embezzlement.com.
is an autobiography of a snot-nosed punk who thought he could get away with everything only to discover that he could not. It is a story of how God reached into one man’s life and intervened at the most opportune time. This not only saved Kevin’s life physically, but it ultimately saved his life spiritually.
The story begins simple enough. A young man wanting to climb ladders gets aggravated with his current standing in life. To rise from the ashes as it were, he decides to begin stealing money. He and a friend are able to hatch a plan to embezzle money from the Broward County Sheriff’s office and filter it all into one of two phony bank accounts.
All is going well until he gets drunk one night and spills his guts to two of his friends who want to know how he is suddenly making all of this money. They then run to the mafia (of which they are related) and let them know. The mafia in turn decides they want in on the action. They kidnap the two kids (19-year olds at this time) and threaten their lives and the lives of their family if they do not pay up.
After this close scrape with death, someone (Kevin still does not know who to this day!) alerts the sheriff’s office to Kevin’s schemes. He and his buddy get arrested (his buddy has not talked with him since) and thrown into separate prisons. While in prison, Kevin comes across a Bible and is saved while reading Matthew 11:28-30 (from the Message).
After losing everything, Kevin starts over determined to build wealth and pay his debts the proper, God-honoring way. He gets a couple of jobs that he cannot stand and then begins a tax service out of his mom and dad’s house. Ultimately, God has blessed Kevin and now through this book and his ministry, Kevin wants to return the blessing to others.
What I enjoyed the most about this particular biography was just how real it was. While I am sure much language was changed (I am pretty sure it would be R-rated if language was used!), many of Kevin’s short comings were front and center.
At some level, he truly believed he was doing a good and honorable thing by stealing the money from the sheriff’s office. After all, he did plan to invest some of it and return all the money he actually stole with a nice little profit (keeping some for himself and his friend) to show the sheriff that he was doing a service for the county and the office.
Kevin and Steve never try to dull the edges. Rather, they show the stupidity of his ways and then how God (note, not Kevin) has brought him up from the grave—almost literally to what he is today. Throughout the book, the reader feels as though he is listening in on a man reflecting back on his horrible decisions in life but then realizing that the exchange that Christ made for him on the cross was not only more than he deserves, but the ministry that was given him is for Christ’s glory alone. If you ask me, it sounds much like Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:30 who while discussing his past of how great he was in the world’s eyes, counts it all as trash when compared to the riches and glories found in Christ (Phil. 3:8ff).
Kevin Cross, with the help of Steven White, has authored two very enjoyable books. Embezzlement was written second, but is the very foundation for Building Your Financial Fortress. It shows that Kevin is not speaking from behind a desk without any experience. Rather, he has “been there, done that” and has the criminal record to prove it!
If you are looking for a biography that will inspire you in the area of finances, this is certainly worthy of your reading. While Kevin Cross is not a “dead theologian” or a pastor, he is a Christian who has a wonderful story of God’s grace and mercy. To read his biography is to, in a very real way, peer into the heart of each and every one of us who has at some point felt as though we deserved more and took matters into our own hands only to learn that what God has and wants for lives is oh so much better. Read this biography