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Big cash stash is found in Michigan priest’s luxury home

Big cash stash is found in Michigan priest’s luxury home

Michigan State police say they discovered $63,000 hidden above ceiling tiles in the mansion of the Rev Jonathan Wehrle, above, a priest who is accused of embezzling millions.

The search of Wehrle’s home in Williamston was conducted on Tuesday. Police say money was in $2,000 bundles secured with cash bands that said, “For Deposit Only-St. Martha Parish.”

Defence attorney Lawrence Nolan declined to comment and said he was withdrawing from the case.

Wehrle is charged with six counts of embezzling $100,000 or more from St Martha Church in Okemos. He lived at a property worth more than $1 million. His trial is scheduled for August 13.

A swimming pool and hot tub located inside the Rev Jonathan Wehrle’s about 11,000-square-foot home in Williamston is pictured in a May 2017 photo from the Michigan State Police. Officials have alleged Wehrle used funds from his Okemos parish to pay for work and materials at the home.

Authorities have seized $1.1 million from Wehrle, although auditors say more than $5 million is missing.

This report adds that Wehrle has been trying to raise $300,000 for his legal defence and is “in dire need of help,” according to a letter circulated on his behalf by Opus Bono, a Lapeer County-based charity that raises money to help priests. The letter says:

For Father Wehrle, this is quite literally an apocalyptic moment. The prosecutor has frozen all of his assets … he is unable to pay his legal team for a competent defense …

During a preliminary examination last year, prosecutors said Wehrle used parish funds to pay for work and materials at his more than 11,000-square-foot mansion. A court-appointed receiver now maintains the property and pays relevant insurance and utility bills.

An insurance carrier for the Catholic Diocese of Lansing has filed a civil lawsuit against Wehrle after paying out nearly $3 million in damages.

Earlier this year local Bishop Earl Boyea begged the faithful not to let the case destroy what they loved about their pastor.

Don’t forget all the good things Father did for you. He baptized your babies, buried your dead and witnessed your marriages.

The bishop said his message was one of:

Hate the sin but love the sinner.

16 responses to “Big cash stash is found in Michigan priest’s luxury home”

  1. Rob Andrews says:

    Many orders of Roman Catholic religious people take expressed vows of poverty, upon their ordination. So they can’t profit even from a LEGAL business. This is double hypocrisy!

    The foundation of some religions
    is essentially to fleece the pigeons
    For a slight fee they prAY
    Which actually means PrEY
    This epitomizing manipulative derision.

  2. Broga says:

    When it is so easy to rob the sheep the temptation must be overwhelming when the priests are criminals to the core.

  3. Lurker111 says:

    “A swimming pool and hot tub located inside the Rev Jonathan Wehrle’s about 11,000-square-foot home in Williamston is pictured in a May 2017 photo from the Michigan State Police. Officials have alleged Wehrle used funds from his Okemos parish to pay for work and materials at the home.”

    Some days I wonder if it’s worth having a conscience. Scamming the faithful, or the bureaucracy of the faithful–of whatever religion–is just so easy.

  4. L.Long says:

    Make ALL religions plain old charity status and more charity will be done or more taxes collected.

  5. Jobrag says:

    Priest lives in an eleven thousand square foot mansion worth $1,000,000, how did he explain it to his parishioners and superiors?

  6. John the Drunkard says:

    ‘He baptized your babies, buried your dead and witnessed your marriages.’
    So what’s five million bucks, really? After all, he did his damn’ job.

  7. Mo says:

    God helps those who help themselves … to other people’s money.
    Name the crime and the Catholic Church is guilty of it.

    When will the faithful … the gullible stupefied unthinking fools … wake up to what is going on and stop sponsoring the biggest global crime syndicate and peadophile ring in the world. Maybe the faithful should be tried for being accessories to the criminal activities of the priests. After all it’s the faithful who sponsor the priests.

  8. andym says:

    Double trouble , I suspect. On one side the law, on the other the Vatican. No crime syndicate takes kindly to one of its members indulging in private enterprise. Doesn’t he realise that all crime proceeds go to Rome and only then get divided up?

  9. andym says:

    @ Mo. Your post didn’t appear till after I’d posted mine, yet we’ve both said “Crime Syndicate.”I suspect its longevity compared to interlopers like Cosa Nostra is in its non-familial structure-hence its (official , at least) celibacy rules.

  10. Rob Andrews says:

    @Jobrag:
    That’s what I was wondering. From my knowledge of RCC, the individual priests lived communally in an “apt building”next to the church. It was called the “Rectory”. I didn’t think that they had separate houses of their own.

    At least not in the 1960s. They didn’t. And how would you use the money and not be seen. Clothes and cars are also out. He may have just saved the money in a secret bank account, then resign later.

  11. Vanity Unfair says:

    $63,000 hidden above ceiling tiles in the mansion of the Rev Jonathan Wehrle…
    That’s not even “resting in the account.”

  12. AgentCormac says:

    Someone who uses his position as a ‘man of god’ as a way to help himself to whatever the wants? Who’d have thought? Surely it’s never happened before?

    But maybe we shouldn’t be too harsh on Wehrle – he is only human, after all. Maybe the people we should really be questioning are those who turn up to church every Sunday and, knowing just how corrupt and immoral their church representatives have constantly and consistently shown themselves to be, still embolden them by their tacit support and their ongoing financial contributions.

    It’s like they don’t read or listen to the news. And if they do, then I assume they just stick their fingers in their ears and go ‘ La-la-la-la’. A bit like Trump’s supporters do when faced with yet another appalling example of how he puts his own vested interests above those of the country he is supposed to serve, but they flat out refuse to see or accept it.

    Sadly, the political world has recently been taken over by barefaced liars, shameless charlatans and brazen snake-oil conmen. However, in the religious world it’s been going on for at least two millennia.

  13. Stephen Harvie says:

    Don’t forget all the good things Father did for you. He baptized your babies, buried your dead and witnessed your marriages. He robbed you blind and took the piss out you.

  14. Tony says:

    There is nothing more pityful than humble pew fodder consistently being taken to the cleaners by robber barons using religion as a smoke screen. The remarkable thing is that they never learn, despite all the evidence staring them in the face. It’s always the “one rotten apple” excuse, but when will they realise that the whole basket is rotten to the core?

  15. 1859 says:

    To be fair the priest’s luxury home and pool should be made available to his parishioners – after all they paid for them.

  16. Igor says:

    I love it. This is precisely what the parishioners – correctly called sheep – deserve. Priests, waking up day after day and thinking: I can’t believe I got away with it again!!!