Former administrator accused of embezzling $400K from Winnipeg church

Winnipeg parishioners are in shock after learning approximately $400,000 was stolen from their church coffers over a period of five years.

See Full Article

Winnipeg police believe the theft at Saint Bernadette Parish to be an inside job.

This has parishioners feeling betrayed, says Pastor Fr. Phil Daley.

"It's a serious breach of trust, and I think the sense of betrayal is probably going to be quite high," he told CTV Winnipeg. "The money was collected, people got receipts for it, but it never made it to the bank."

Court documents show that the church's financial administrator is accused of embezzling money over a five-year period, starting in 2009.

The missing money became apparent during a routine audit conducted by the archdiocese in St. Boniface in May, 2015.

"It was not apparent at first," said archdiocese financial administrator Richard Frechette. "It's something that we discovered as we went along. The totals kept rising and rising and rising."

According to auditors, the thefts started off in small amounts. But by the end of the five years, they had risen substantially.

It is alleged that $120,000 went missing in 2014 alone. As well, $100,000 that was earmarked for church renovations also went missing.

Staff say the church ran deficits for years, with parishioners being asked to give more every week to make up for the shortfall.

Daley said the thefts have left many in the congregation feeling frustrated.

"They were frustrated because it just seemed that the more they tried, they kept getting the feedback that it's not enough," he said.

Leo McCaughan, the church’s former financial administrator, faces three charges related to theft, fraud and falsifying documents.

He quit his job a few months before the 2015 audit, telling colleagues that he planned to take a year off before looking for new employment.

McCaughan is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

With a report from CTV Winnipeg's Ben Miljure



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Iran denies U.S. destroyed an Iranian drone near Persian Gulf

    World News CBC News
    Iran on Friday denied President Donald Trump's statement that a U.S. warship destroyed an Iranian drone near the Persian Gulf after it threatened the ship — an incident that marked a new escalation of tensions between the countries less than a month after Iran downed an American drone in the same waterway and Trump came close to retaliating with a military strike. Source
  • Explosion outside Kabul University kills 6, wounds 27

    World News CBC News
    A powerful bomb exploded outside the gates of Kabul University in the Afghan capital on Friday, killing at least six people and wounding 27, according to police and health officials. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest to target Kabul. Source
  • Animation fans lay flowers, pay respects at Japan studio ravaged by arson

    World News CBC News
    Animation fans and Kyoto residents gathered at the site of Japan's worst mass killing in 18 years on Friday, offering flowers and prayers for the 33 people who died in an arson attack on an animation studio in the city. Source
  • 4 Chicago police officers fired over Lacquan McDonald shooting

    World News CBC News
    The Chicago Police Board fired four police officers on Thursday for allegedly covering up a white officer's 2014 fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. The nine-member board found the officers exaggerated the threat posed by 17-year-old McDonald in order to justify his shooting by Jason Van Dyke. Source
  • Biden and Harris set for rematch in upcoming Democratic debates

    World News CTV News
    ATLANTA -- The second set of summer Democratic presidential debates will feature a rematch with a twist, plus the first showdown of leading progressives as the party wrestles with its philosophical identity and looks ahead to a 2020 fight against U.S. Source
  • Trump to nominate son of late Supreme Court justice as labour secretary

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Thursday his intention to nominate Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to be the secretary of labour. Trump tweeted the news Thursday evening, less than a week after his previous secretary, Alexander Acosta, resigned amid renewed criticism of his handling of a 2008 secret plea deal with wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted earlier this month for sexually abusing underage girls. Source
  • Scrapie, a disease related to mad cow, found in two flocks of sheep in Alberta

    Canada News CTV News
    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says some sheep in Alberta have been infected with scrapie, a fatal disease that affects the animals' nervous system. The federal agency's website says classic scrapie, which can be transmitted to other sheep and goats, was confirmed last month in two flocks in Central Alberta. Source
  • Conservatives 'declaring war on Canada Food Guide' like they did on long-form census, Trudeau says

    Canada News CBC News
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending his government's update to the Canada Food Guide in the wake of attacks by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer who suggested the changes were riddled with "bias" and driven by "ideology. Source
  • Puerto Ricans, furious at their governor, are forging a movement to boot him out

    World News CBC News
    Cruise passengers drifted through the streets of Old San Juan on Thursday as shop owners took plywood down from store windows and painted over graffiti demanding Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello resign. On a colonial plaza behind the governor's mansion, a small group of men and women laid out the shoes of people who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, each decorated with a blue flower. Source
  • Brother of Syrian refugee badly injured in Halifax fire updates condition

    Canada News CTV News
    The brother of a Halifax man who was badly injured in a fire that killed his seven children said his sibling is slowly recovering but doubts whether he knows exactly what happened to his family. Source