WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- State police discovered more than $63,000 cash on Tuesday from the house of a priest who was charged with embezzling $5 million from a Michigan parish.
- Sixty-seven-year-old Rev. Jonathan Wehrle claimed that he used the church funds to build his 11,000 square-foot home with a bishop’s permission.
- The money was found stashed above the home’s basement ceiling with a label ‘For Deposit-St. Martha Parish and School.’
Michigan State Police has uncovered $63,393 on Tuesday from the house of a parish priest who was accused of embezzling millions of dollars from a Michigan parish he presided over.
Roman Catholic priest Rev. Jonathan Wehrle, 67, claimed to have been given permission by a bishop, now deceased, to use the church funds to build his house.
Police searched Wehrle’s million dollar luxury home in Williamston, where they found the cash hidden above the basement ceiling. The money as in $2,000 bundles secured in bands that said, “For Deposit-St. Martha Parish and School.”
Aside from the cash, other evidence was recovered from the scene, although not specified.
Wehrle was accused of stealing at least $5million from St. Martha Parish in Okemos to fund the construction of his extravagant home. However, only $1.1 million was seized from his home since the investigation started. Authorities are now working to recover the remaining missing funds.
Defense attorney Lawrence Nolan declined to comment on the incident and is withdrawing from the case. No reasons were provided yet.
Lansing State Journal reports that Wehrle has been trying to raise $300,000 to pay for his legal fees since his assets were frozen by authorities. They also mentioned that a letter from the organization Opus Bono has been distributed to help the priest pay for legal services.
The letter read: “For Father Wehrle, this is quite literally an apocalyptic moment. He is unable to pay his legal team for a competent defense, and is now faced with the horrifying reality that, without the best defense possible, he will live the remainder of his years in state prison. Father Wehrle gets one chance at this; if he does not raise the cost of the legal fees now, he will lose his opportunity for justice, and for his freedom.”
Opus Bono is a non-profit group that raises money for priests. They have begun raising funds for Father Wehrle to help with his legal and living expenses.
Wehrle is due for a trial on August 13.
Source: Fox News