TROY, Mich. -Let us be in prayer: I don’t make this stuff up, I have been posting so many crime reports of late, about the Catholic Church and here is another one: A Detroit-area Catholic priest and his parish administrator have been charged with fraud and conspiracy to steal nearly $700,000 from their church.
The Rev. Edward Belczak and Janice Verschuren conspired over an eight-year period at St. Thomas More in Troy, according to an indictment. Cash even turned up missing from special collections on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
The indictment says the 69-year-old priest helped himself to $110,000 from a church account to help pay for a Wellington, Fla., condominium that was sold to him for $500,000 by Verschuren and her former husband.
The indictment says Belczak also opened a bank account in 2006 without the Detroit Archdiocese’s knowledge with a $350,000 check from a deceased parishioner who donated a portion of her estate “for the needs of the church.”
Belczak was removed from the church last year after an audit raised questions about parish finances. The Archdiocese said he paid a ghost employee $240,000.
Let us be in prayer over this awful situation.