A Florida woman is in hot, not holy, water after an investigation revealed she funneled church donations into a bank account for herself.
In December 2021, the Vero Beach Police Department was contacted by the Diocese of Palm Beach in regard to a fraudulent bank account and possible misappropriation of funds that occurred over the course of approximately five years at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Vero Beach, FL.
The Vero Beach Police Department concluded a nine-month fraud investigation, resulting in the arrest of Holy Cross Catholic Church’s former parish administrator, Deborah True.
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According to detectives, the investigation revealed that in 2012, Deborah True and former pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church, Fr. Richard Murphy, opened a bank account in the name of “Holy Cross Catholic Church”, which was hidden from the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach.
Bank records show that nearly $1.5 million of parishioners’ donations were fraudulently deposited into the account, since 2015.
From 2015 until 2020, Deborah True used over $500,000 of those funds to pay off personal lines of credit.
An additional $147,000 was withdrawn from the account and deposited into Deborah True’s personal checking account.
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The investigation revealed that former Pastor Father Richard Murphy also personally benefited from the funds in the account.
Father Richard Murphy passed away in 2020 and, therefore, no criminal investigation was opened against Father Richard Murphy.
On Monday, Deborah True turned herself in at the Indian River County Jail on one count of Organized Fraud over $50,000.00. Deborah True has since bonded out and is awaiting trial.