CLEVELAND, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A former accountant for the Roman Catholic diocese of Cleveland was convicted Tuesday for helping another official steal $784,000.
A jury in federal court determined Anton Zgoznik paid the money illegally in kickbacks to Joseph Smith, the diocese’s former chief financial officer, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported. Smith is scheduled to be tried separately.
Zgoznik claimed during the trial he was making payments that had been authorized to the Rev. John Wright, who had been Smith’s predecessor as chief financial officer and his supervisor. But prosecutors presented a secretly recorded conversation between Zgoznik and a former business partner in which he told Zrino Jukic they had to say Wright wanted a “confidential payroll” for key diocesan executives.
Jurors found Zgoznik guilty on all counts of conspiracy, money laundering, mail fraud and obstruction of justice.