Saturday, April 4, 2009

Priest convicted of grand theft

February 24, 2009
National Briefing | South
Florida: Priest Guilty of Embezzlement

A jury in West Palm Beach convicted a priest of stealing from his church, but it found that he had embezzled far less than the $488,000 prosecutors charged. The Rev. Francis Guinan, 66, was found guilty of second-degree grand theft of more than $20,000 but less than $100,000 after less than four hours of jury deliberations. Prosecutors said the clergyman from St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach used the money to finance a lavish lifestyle that included trips to the Bahamas and Las Vegas, jewelry and home furniture. Father Guinan will remain jailed until his March 25 sentencing. He had been charged with first-degree grand theft, which carried a sentence of up to 30 years.

Florida priests 'embezzled $8.6m from parishioners'

By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles The Independent

Saturday, 30 September 2006

Two Catholic priests in Florida stand accused of embezzling $8.6m (£4.6m) from their parishioners over a 42-year period and spending the money on holiday houses, luxury travel, gambling in Las Vegas casinos and secret girlfriends.

The scandal, at St Vincent Ferrer Church, in Delray Beach, north of Miami, cast yet another embarrassing spotlight on a Catholic diocese that recently lost two bishops to child sex abuse scandals.

According to police who investigated the suspect finances at St Vincent Ferrer for more than a year, Fathers John Skehan and Francis Guinan acted as "professional money launderers" who took money from the collection plate and set up a network of slush-fund bank accounts to which only they had access.

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