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

  • Trudeau says he was informed of Fortin investigation 'a number of weeks ago'

    Canada News CBC News
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he found out about the investigation into Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who had been the public face of the vaccine distribution drive, a few weeks ago, but not the details of the sexual misconduct allegations. Source
  • Federal government invests $200 million to build an mRNA vaccine plant in Ontario

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal government today announced a $200-million investment to help a Mississauga, Ont.-based company build a plant that can churn out millions of mRNA vaccines. Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the money will be used to expand an existing site owned by Resilience Biotechnologies Inc. Source
  • Feds investing nearly $200M in Mississauga, Ont. plant to mass produce vaccines

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The federal government will invest almost $200 million in Mississauga, Ont.-based Resilience Biotechnologies to eventually be able to mass produce vaccines domestically. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on Tuesday, stating that the money will go toward creating and maintaining 500 jobs and 50 co-op positions for young people “to get their foot in the door in a growing sector. Source
  • Massive fire north of Prince Albert, Sask., is threatening farms and acreages

    Canada News CBC News
    Harold Fisher is wondering if he'll have a home to go back to. Fisher had to evacuate his farm late Monday evening because of a large fire raging north of Prince Albert, Sask., about 135 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon. Source
  • 'Sheerness when wet': Joe Fresh recalls boys, toddler swim shorts out of 'abundance of caution'

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Loblaws' Joe Fresh clothing brand is voluntarily recalling swim shorts for boys and toddlers over concerns about the sheerness of the trunks’ fabric when wet. Joe Fresh said in a recall notice posted online that there are no safety concerns with the products. Source
  • Ikea recalls select dishes due to risk of breakage and burns

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ikea Canada has issued a recall for select dishes after the company received reports of some of these products breaking, leading to a possible burn risk. In a notice issued on Tuesday, Ikea Canada said it was recalling the Heroisk and Talrika style plates, bowls, and mugs "due to the potential risk of burns from hot contents upon breakage. Source
  • Container ship is the largest of its kind to visit Canada: Halifax Port Authority

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Port officials in Halifax say the largest container ship to visit a Canadian port has arrived at the city's south-end container terminal. A spokesman for the Port of Halifax says the CMA CGM Marco Polo is 396 metres long and can carry the equivalent of 16,022 containers that are each 20-feet long. Source
  • Investing in new coal, oil and gas projects must stop to hit climate goals, global energy agency says

    World News CBC News
    A report by the International Energy Agency says immediate action is needed to reshape the world's energy sector in order to meet ambitious climate goals by 2050, including ending investments in new coal mines, oil and gas wells. Source
  • Quebec reports 549 new COVID-19 cases, 9 more deaths

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Quebec has 549 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of people infected to 364,396 since the start of the pandemic. The province's health officials also confirmed nine more deaths, a total of 11,050 after it was ruled one death was not related to COVID-19. Source
  • Israel resumes airstrikes on Gaza, as Palestinian militants fire more rockets into Israel

    World News CBC News
    Israel bombarded Gaza with airstrikes and Palestinian militants resumed cross-border rocket fire on Tuesday after a brief overnight lull during which the United Nations sent a small fuel convoy into the enclave, where it says 52,000 people are now displaced. Source