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Priest sentenced in case stemming from stealing donations

People who go to church tend to trust the priests and pastors who handle the church’s business. For parishioners who went to St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, shock was probably the first reaction when they learned that a priest who headed the church from 1994 until Sept. 1, 2010 was stealing from them.

The 71-year-old priest was taking checks written to the church and one of the church’s organizations and depositing them into an account that he controlled. He would then transfer the money from them into his retirement account. He told people that he was depositing the funds into the account that he controlled so that the money could be used for charitable causes and updates to the church, but none of the funds were used for those purposes.

All told, this man of the cloth stole at least $400,000 in his scheme. More than 500 checks from 135 parishioners were fraudulently deposited into the priest’s account. On top of that, the man wrote church checks to himself to deposit into his own accounts. This was done in addition to the salary that he received from the church.

As part of his plea deal, the priest repaid $400,000 in restitution. He was sentenced to three years of supervised release with 18 months of that being served via home confinement.

While this priest opted to resolve his case through a plea deal, that isn’t the only option that defendants have. Some defendants might opt to resolve their case through trial. This requires preparation on your part because you need to be ready for the battle against the prosecutor.

Source: The Bay Net, “Former St. Mary's County Pastor sentenced to 18 months home confinement,” Aug. 01, 2017

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