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Adams County priest charged with embezzling from parish

Written by The Associated Press | Nov 5, 2012 1:10 PM

(Bonneauville) — A central Pennsylvania priest faces charges he stole more than $380,000 from his parish.

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Investigators say 52-year-old Father Caesar Belchez transferred more than $190,000 from various accounts at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Bonneauville to an online stock account and more than $120,000 to a personal account.

The alleged misuse of funds extends to unauthorized credit card charges and church checks made out to Belchez.

Authorities in Adams County say the fraud was discovered by Belchez's successor when he left the church during a regular assignment change.

Belchez was charged last week with two counts of theft and access device fraud. A phone listing for him could not be located today.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg says Belchez has been barred from celebrating Mass and other priestly duties.

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