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

  • HIV-positive status to factor into Regina rapist's sentence, but not criminal charge

    Canada News CBC News
    A Regina woman who was choked unconscious and brutally raped by an HIV-positive stranger in a downtown back alley in May 2015 suffered months of anxiety over whether she had contracted the virus. The risk of transmission turned out to be nearly zero, forcing the Crown to reconsider its criminal charge. Source
  • #BoycottSearsCanada: Retailer faces 'PR nightmare' over treatment of laid-off workers

    Canada News CBC News
    Sears Canada is striving to reinvent itself and entice customers. But every time it posts an ad promoting products on its Facebook site, the retailer is bombarded with angry comments. "No one cares!" wrote one person, commenting on a dishware ad. Source
  • Despite 2015 defeat, NDP in better spot now than during most of party's past leadership races

    Canada News CBC News
    The New Democrats failed in their bid for government in 2015 and have struggled to spark enthusiasm for their leadership race outside of their existing base, but the party is still more popular today than it was in most of its past leadership contests going back to its founding in 1961. Source
  • Intellectual property could be key as Canada and U.S. compete for frigate-building bids

    World News CBC News
    The U.S. navy is in the market for up to 20 patrol frigates in a multibillion-dollar program that one defence expert says could cut into Canada's plans for its own, more modest project. Not only is the American program more lucrative, but Canada's intellectual property demands could put it at a further disadvantage in the fight for international bidders, says defence analyst Danny Lam. Source
  • OPEC meets Monday - amid nerves in the oil market

    World News CBC News
    Tomorrow in St. Petersburg, Russia, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the so-called NOPEC alliance will meet to talk about how the oil production cuts are coming along. The answer will be: not that great. Source
  • Palestinian kills three members of Israeli family in West Bank stabbing [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    JERUSALEM — Israel’s military fortified its troops in the West Bank and placed forces on high alert Saturday, a day after a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family and some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian clashes in years erupted over tensions at the Holy Land’s most contested shrine. Source
  • Crane collapse kills 7, injures 2 in southern Chinese city

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- A crane leaned and collapsed on a construction site of a major infrastructure company in southern China, killing seven people and injuring two, authorities said Sunday. The collapse occurred late Saturday at the construction site for the southern headquarters of the state-owned China Communications Construction Co. Source
  • Alberta Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose vote 95% in favour of merger

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The Wildrose Party approved unifying with Progressive Conservatives in an historic vote Saturday. Just over ninety-five per cent of Wildrose members voted yes for unity, well above the 75 per cent majority it needed to give the merger a go-ahead. Source
  • B.C. wildfire evacuation lifted for hundreds as federal government promises funds

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The federal government is promising more funding to support residents affected by raging wildfires in British Columbia as some of the thousands of people displaced prepare to return home. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the government will supply $600 per household evacuated due to wildfires and $300 for their eventual return — funds that will be managed and distributed by the Canadian Red Cross. Source
  • Wildrose, Progressive Conservative parties to merge with 95% approval

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The Wildrose Party approved unifying with Progressive Conservatives in an historic vote Saturday. Just over ninety-five per cent of Wildrose members voted yes for unity, well above the 75 per cent majority it needed to give the merger a go-ahead. Source