State Police: Priest's Embezzlement Could Top $1 Million

Associated Press, carried in Daily Press [Fredericksburg VA]
January 17, 2007,

Funds allegedly embezzled by a Roman Catholic priest from two rural parishes could top $1 million, according to state police investigators.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has said the Rev. Rodney L. Rodis took more than $600,000 from two Louisa County churches since 2001.

State police, however, are still hearing from parishioners whose donations can't be accounted for and the total is "climbing every day," said Sgt. Kevin Barrick, a spokesman.

He said he "wouldn't be surprised" if the embezzled funds surpass $1 million.

Court records show that police last month seized from Rodis' home bank records and other items, including a receipt for Lucky Money dated May 24, 2006. Lucky Money Inc. is a service for wiring money to the Philippines, Rodis' home country.

Rodis, 50, retired from St. Jude Church in Mineral and Immaculate Conception Church in Bumpass in late May after leading the congregations since 1993.

Rodis and Joyce F. Sillador-Rodis are listed as husband and wife on a deed of trust for a Spotsylvania mortgage on a house they shared with three children, according to records in Spotsylvania Circuit Court.

Rodis has told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he is not married to Joyce Sillador, though neighbors say he has referred to her as his wife for the past decade.

Authorities allege Rodis opened an account in a church's name at a bank in Fredericksburg, deposited donations in the account and then diverted them for personal use.

The diocese said it became aware of financial irregularities in the fall when a donor to Immaculate Conception requested verification of a $1,000 contribution for tax purposes and the parish could not find a record of the donation.

Rodis was to appear Thursday in Louisa Circuit Court on one count of felony embezzlement. He has been free on a $10,000 bond.


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