Michigan Priest, Aide Accused of Stealing from Church

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TROY, Mich. (AP) -- A Detroit-area Catholic priest and his parish administrator have been accused of an eight-year scheme to steal nearly $700,000 from their church.

Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment Wednesday charging the Rev. Edward Belczak and Janice Verschuren with conspiracy and fraud.

Belczak was pastor at St. Thomas More church in Troy until he was removed last year.

The indictment describes a wide-ranging scheme to steal money. It says Belczak used $110,000 from a church account to help pay for a Florida condominium that was sold to him by Verschuren.

The indictment says large donations to St. Thomas More were deposited in Belczak's personal accounts.

Defense attorney Jerome Sabbota says Belczak will fight the charges. A message seeking comment was left with Verschuren's attorney, Patricia Maceroni.

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