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

  • 5 key moments from tonight's B.C. election debate

    Canada News CBC News
    The leaders traded jabs on three main categories — leadership, the economy and housing — during Wednesday's election debate. Here are five moments we found most interesting: Housing B.C. Election Debate 20172:42 Source
  • Trump assures PM: No NAFTA withdrawal for now

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — The White House is telling U.S. media that it’s weighing a plan to pull out of NAFTA, upping the pressure on Congress to get cracking on negotiations under the threat of having the seminal trade deal obliterated. Source
  • India blocks social media in Kashmir in wake of abuse videos

    World News CTV News
    SRINAGAR, India - India has ordered internet service providers in Indian-controlled Kashmir to block Facebook, Twitter and 20 other social media sites and online applications for one month, after several videos and photos depicting alleged abuses of Kashmiris by Indian security forces sparked outrage and fuelled protests. Source
  • Trump tells Canada, Mexico he won’t terminate NAFTA

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — The White House is telling U.S. media that it’s weighing a plan to pull out of NAFTA, upping the pressure on Congress to get cracking on negotiations under the threat of having the seminal trade deal obliterated. Source
  • Housing, economy, leadership feature in final B.C. election debate

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- British Columbia Premier Christy Clark is defending the time it took her government to cool Vancouver's scorching housing market, telling voters watching a TV debate the Liberals wanted to make sure they didn't wipe out the equity people have built in their homes by acting rashly. Source
  • Hollywood producer testifies in Robert Durst murder case

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A Hollywood producer testified Wednesday that a friend claimed to have impersonated the first wife of real estate heir Robert Durst in a telephone call that prosecutors say took place after the wife was dead. Source
  • Doctors in Detroit-area genital mutilation case indicted

    World News Toronto Sun
    DETROIT — A grand jury indicted two doctors and a third person on Wednesday in an alleged scheme to perform genital mutilation on two girls from Minnesota at a Detroit-area clinic. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and Attar’s wife, Farida, are charged with female genital mutilation, conspiracy and other crimes. Source
  • Trekker missing in Nepal for 47 days saved, girlfriend dies 3 days before rescue

    World News CTV News
    KATHMANDU, Nepal -- A Taiwanese man who was missing on a mountain in Nepal for 47 days was rescued Wednesday, but his girlfriend died just three days before they were discovered, trekking officials said. Asian Trekking agency official Madhav Basnet said 21-year-old Liang Sheng Yueh was found Wednesday on a ledge under a waterfall and was flown by helicopter to a hospital in the capital, Kathmandu. Source
  • Canadian soldier killed in vehicle rollover remembered for 'big heart'

    Canada News CTV News
    A field memorial was held Wednesday morning for a Canadian solider killed when a light-armoured vehicle rolled over during a training exercise on an Alberta base. Sgt. Robert J. Dynerowicz died Tuesday after the accident at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright. Source
  • Conservative candidates battle it out after O'Leary quits

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — The Conservative leadership race now enters the final weeks with penultimate debate showcasing the task at hand for the majority of candidates: take down clear front-runner Maxime Bernier. Wednesday night’s final party debate in Toronto was supposed to be a big political spectacle in its own right, with the May 27 climax looming on the calendar. Source