California Priest Caught With $95,000 in Stolen Cash After Car Accident - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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California Priest Caught With $95,000 in Stolen Cash After Car Accident

One California priest got involved in a car accident that left him in need of surgery on his hip, but that’s actually the “good news” part of the story. With him in the car, there were several bags of cash he’d stolen from his Parish.

In a statement from Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, Father Oscar Alejandro Diaz Canchola stole an estimated $95,000 in cash from his Parish in less than a year. Over $18,000 of that amount was with him in the car when he crashed last month, Vasa says.

According to Vasa, when first responders arrived at the scene and removed Father Oscar from the wreck, they asked him if there was anything else in the vehicle he needed to take with him to the hospital. He told them about the bags of cash (5 or 6 of them), which he called his “salary.”

The cash arrived with Father Oscar at the hospital, but one staffer was not comfortable with this amount of money being there. He called the Diocese and, in turn, Vasa called the police, asking that the full amount be accounted for in case of future prosecution.

While Father Oscar was recovering from his several injuries, Vasa worked with the police to determine if there was more stolen cash lying around. From his home and office, they recovered several other bags and envelopes, with the grand total being $95,000. As Vasa puts it, they might never know the full extent of the theft, because of the way the Parish processes donations and all related protocols.

That’s also the reason why the police are reluctant to prosecute Father Oscar: they can’t establish proof of theft. They have advised Vasa to consult with a fraud specialist, but he says such an investigation will end up costing the Parish more.

For the time being, Father Oscar has been ousted from the Parish and his future is “uncertain,” Vasa says. He wants him prosecuted, so that punishment will act as deterrent for anyone else thinking of scamming the good people who make donations.
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