Former St. Rita’s priest held on grand theft allegations

Visalia Times-Delta

Luis Hernandez, December 31, 2014

Former St. Rita’s Catholic Church Rev. Ignacio Villafan was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of embezzlement.

Tulare police officers, who for about a year had been investigating money mismanagement at the church, made the arrest. Villafan, 49, was booked into the Tulare County Main Jail and his bail was set at $50,000.

Tulare County Assistant District Attorney Anthony Fultz said Villafan’s arrest comes just two days after charges were filed in superior court.

The priest is held on two counts grand theft. The counts span a period from June 1, 2005 to June 30, 2009, and July 1, 2009 to Jan. 21, 2012.

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