Troy priest under investigation for questionable financial transactions

(WXYZ) - A Troy priest is under investigation for questionable financial transactions.

The Detroit Archdiocese says they have asked Father Edward Belczak to step aside as pastor at St. Thomas More Parish in Troy while they investigate.

According to an archdiocese audit, the 67-year-old priest misappropriated $429,000 dollars of church money.

The alleged misappropriation and mismanagement include:

  • Taking excess compensation beyond archdiocesan policies, estimating a loss of $92,000 to the parish over the past six years.
  • Accepting and directing funds to himself that should have been posted to parish accounts, estimating a loss to the parish of $16,000 over the past six years.
  • Compensating, with benefits, an individual best described as a "ghost employee," estimating a loss of $240,000 to the parish over the past six years.
  • Maintaining improper medical/dental insurance coverage for an individual, estimating a loss of approximately $26,000 to the parish over the past six years.
  • Authorizing a long-term disability policy for one employee, while not providing a similar benefit to other parish staff members, estimating a loss of $20,000 to the parish.
  • Allowing for the operation of the St. Thomas More Travel Group as a parish-related activity, while none of the financial transactions, records or bank accounts were disclosed for financial reporting or official purposes.
  • Accepting, but not depositing or recording in parish accounts, residual commission checks to the St. Thomas More Travel Group, estimating a loss of $25,000 to the parish over the past six years.
  • Failing to record or deposit monies received through the Mother's Day and Father's Day special collections according to archdiocesan policies; failing to monitor currency in an amount over $10,000, found in an employee's office desk.

We're told the Troy Police Department is also investigating this matter.

We tried reaching out to Father Belczak, but we were unable to get in touch with him.

Father Belczak had been the pastor at St. Thomas More for more than 30 years.

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