© 2022 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lansing-Area Priest Faces Embezzlement Probe

St. Martha Catholic Church
Courtesy
/
St. Martha Catholic Church
St. Martha Catholic Church in Okemos, Michigan

Another Roman Catholic church in Michigan is dealing with an embezzlement investigation.

Officials say the pastor of St. Martha Church in Okemos, near Lansing, has been placed on leave. The Rev. Jonathan Wehrle already planned to retire at the end of June.

The Catholic Diocese of Lansing said Wednesday that auditors uncovered a "possible significant embezzlement" at St. Martha. Meanwhile, in St. Joseph County in southwestern Michigan, the Rev. Richard Fritz is charged with stealing more than $100,000. He liked to buy lottery tickets.

The Rev. David Fisher is charged with embezzlement from St. Joseph Church in Owosso in Shiawassee County. Diocese officials say $450,000 is missing.

In 2015, the Rev. Ed Belczak was sentenced to 27 months in prison for stealing more than $500,000 from a Detroit-area church.

News from WKAR will never be behind a paywall. Ever. We need your help to keep our coverage free for everyone. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. You can support our journalism for as little as $5. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.