Archdiocese Seeks Stolen Funds as Matter of Justice to Parishioners

The former business manager of three parishes in the Cincinnati area is believed to have embezzled more than $353,000 in parish funds.

CINCINNATI — The Archdiocese of Cincinnati sued a former business manager on Nov. 26 to obtain the more than $353,000 he is believed to have embezzled from area parishes.

“Justice is a very important word — it's not about revenge or punishment,” archdiocesan communication director Dan Andriacco told EWTN News on Nov. 28.

“It's a matter of justice for the people who donated the money to their parishes. … We have a very strong sense of stewardship. The people in the pews who donate the money to their parish do that because they know it will be used for good purposes that they support,” Andriacco said.

The archdiocese was joined in its lawsuit against Thomas Martin by the three parishes from which he embezzled just over $353,000 since 2000. The parishes are Holy Family, St. John the Evangelist and St. John the Baptist.

His “regular scheme” was to fail to deposit money entrusted to him for parish bank accounts and to forge checks, among other methods.

Martin is joined as a defendant in the Hamilton County suit by Mack Martin Enterprises and Springwater Sweets and Flowers, companies he controlled and to which he allegedly funneled money.

In addition to the charge of theft, Martin faces a count of breach of fiduciary duty, because, as the parishes' business manager, he was given “trust and special confidence.”

“We want to be sure … it can be used for the purposes for which it was donated,” Andriacco said, “so we're really dedicated to getting the money back when someone steals from us.”


New Financial Controls

According to a Nov. 26 statement from the archdiocese, the discovery of the missing funds was made when it instituted “extensive, strengthened financial controls.”

Andriacco noted that the Cincinnati Archdiocese has done a lot in the past four years to implement increased safeguards against theft from parishes.

A new standardized accounting system is being implemented, the consolidation of funds is happening across parish organizations, and a new full-time auditor coincidentally began his position this week at the archdiocese.

Andriacco stressed that the theft hurt real people in the diocese. “There's one parish that he stole $27,000 from. And it doesn't seem like very much, but it's a small parish and a poor parish.”

“It's really an issue of justice, and that's the reason why we have to take this very seriously, to do our very best to get the money back.”