Friday, January 17, 2014

Priest's Assets Seized Under Mounting Fraud Allegations

by Gary Snyder

The federal government has seized the assets of of St. Thomas More Catholic Church priest Rev. Edward Belczak. He was removed from his parish a year ago, accused of mishandling at least $429,000 in church money.

The allegations are incredible and mounting:


• Taking excess compensation beyond archdiocesan policies, estimating a loss of $92,000 to the parish over the past six years.
• Accepting and directing funds to himself that should have been posted to parish accounts, estimating a loss to the parish of $16,000 over the past six years.
• Compensating, with benefits, an individual best described as a “ghost employee,” estimating a loss of $240,000 to the parish over the past six years.
• Maintaining improper medical/dental insurance coverage for an individual, estimating a loss of approximately $26,000 to the parish over the past six years.
• Authorizing a long-term disability policy for one employee, while not providing a similar benefit to other parish staff members, estimating a loss of $20,000 to the parish.
• Allowing for the operation of the St. Thomas More Travel Group as a parish-related activity, while none of the financial transactions, records or bank accounts were disclosed for financial reporting or official purposes.
• Accepting, but not depositing or recording in parish accounts, residual commission checks to the St. Thomas More Travel Group, estimating a loss of $25,000 to the parish over the past six years.

• Failing to record or deposit monies received through the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day special collections according to archdiocesan policies; failing to monitor currency in an amount over $10,000, found in an employee’s office desk. (source)


Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Charity Navigator, Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio (NPR), Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), “Betrayal”, (a movie), NBC (on Charity Fraud…TBD), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Marie Claire, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, Charity Navigator, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, Board Room Insider, USA Today Topics, Accountants News, Newsweek.com, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times, Portfolio Magazine, The Virgin Islands Daily News, NANKAI (China) BUSINESS REVIEW, National Religious Broadcasters newsletter, The Charity Governance Blog, American Chronicle, Palm Beach Post, Detroit Free Press, Oakland Press, Nonprofit World, Socially Responsible Business Forum, PNNOnline, Ohio Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Good Practice Guide, Nonprofit Startup Guide, Nonprofit Blog, National Coalition of Homeless Newsletter, Finance and Administration Roundtable Newsletter, MichiganNonprofit.com, CORP! Magazine, Crain’s Michigan Nonprofit, ncrp.org, PhilanTopic, Nashville Free Press, Nonprofit Law Blog, Seniors World Chronicle, Carnegie Reporter, Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners Examiner, msnbc.com, Worchester (MA) Telegram and Gazette, Carnegie Corporation of America, EO Tax Journal, Wikipedia: Non-profit Organizations; Parent: Wise Austin, Accountants News, Veterans Today, Answers.com, Far-roundtable, #Nonprofit Report, nonprofithelpnews, nonprofit news; National Enquirer, Northwest Herald, The HelpWise Daily, The #Nonprofit Report, Wikipedia (Nonprofit Organization), Answers.com, Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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