Judge rules on parish bookkeeper’s embezzlement

A former parish bookkeeper charged with misappropriating more than $13,000 from St. Theodore Catholic Church in Westland, Michigan, will be able to avoid a criminal record if she pays complete restitution and enters a diversion program, the Observer & Eccentric reports.

Kathleen Galoch was employed by the parish to oversee bookkeeping and additional administrative duties. She worked for St. Theodore between March 1986 and March 2011, at which point she was laid off due to budgetary constraints, according to an Archdiocese of Detroit release. During that time, $143,000 was reported missing.

An accounts payable audit prepared by the archdiocese uncovered checks written to pay a variety of expenses for Galoch's son, which ranged from mobile home rental fees to utilities, the Observer reports. Additionally, wage payouts were found to have been made to her husband, and some of her former daughter-in-law's personal bills were also paid off. Galoch's husband and son had both done maintenance work for the parish in the past, while her daughter-in-law is still employed there.

However, Galoch was only charged with embezzling $13,169 because St. Theodore parish priest Gary Michalik told police he had authorized most of the expenditures.

Currently, Galoch has repaid approximately one-third of the $13,169 identified by the AP audit as having been fraudulently spent. Earlier this month, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge James Chylinski allowed her to enter a diversion program and ordered her to complete paying restitution within 120 days. If she complies, she will be able to avoid having a criminal record, according to the news source.

Some have called for the archdiocese to launch a recovery audit to recoup more of the missing funds.

"I want to know if the archdiocese insurer will go after her for the money and the IRS (over tax irregularities)," parishioner Loretta LaBerge told the news source.

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