FBI takes over priest embezzlement case

April 4, 2013 at 11:02 AM
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TROY, Mich., April 4 (UPI) -- The FBI has taken over an investigation into whether a priest in Troy, Mich., embezzled more than $400,000 from his church, officials said.

Police had been investigating the Rev. Edward Belczak, 67, who was the pastor at St. Thomas More Parish in Troy for nearly 30 years until he was removed by the Archdiocese of Detroit in January for the alleged embezzlement, the Detroit Free Press reported.

A few weeks ago "the FBI came in and took over" the investigation, Troy Police Sgt. Andy Breidenich said Wednesday.

Belczak is accused of embezzling $429,000 from the church, the archdiocese said. An audit by the archdiocese also found Belczak may have paid $240,000 to a fake employee, personally accepted $25,000 that should have gone to the church's bank accounts and provided improper medical and dental coverage to a parish member and employee.

Local police will continue to handle the healthcare fraud portion of the investigation, Breidenich said.

The archdiocese is "still cooperating with civil authorities" in the investigation, spokesman Joe Kohn said.

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