Catholic priest accused in theft of $700K from Troy church arraigned on charges

The Detroit News

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — An indicted Catholic priest wore his clerical collar to court and clutched what appeared to be a photo of the Pope on Monday while being arraigned on charges he helped steal $700,000 from St. Thomas More Church in Troy.

The Rev. Edward Belczak, 69, of Troy was freed on $10,000 unsecured bond after U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Belczak was arraigned six days after federal prosecutors unsealed a five-count indictment that charged the priest and parish administrator Janice Verschuren, 67, of Bloomfield Hills, with stealing the money from the church and Archdiocese of Detroit between 2004 and 2012.

The stolen money allegedly included most of a $350,000 gift to the church from the family of a dead parishioner and cash donated by churchgoers during special Mother’s Day and Father’s Day collections, prosecutors said. The priest spent some of the money on a condominium in Palm Beach, Fla., according to the indictment.

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