Parish priest charged with fraud, theft, money laundering
OTTAWA— A past priest of the Blessed Sacrament Parish has been charged with fraud and larceny, after the Ottawa Archdiocese filed a complaint with the Ottawa police accusing him of financial misappropriation, theft and money laundering.
The charges against Joseph LeClair, 55, of Ottawa, are based on the findings of an audit commissioned by the Archdiocese in August 2011 into the finances at the Blessed Sacrament Parish.
A subsequent investigation by the Ottawa Police Organised Fraud betweenthe period January 2006 to May 2011 found that over $240,000 in cheques from the Parish funds had been stolen, and that another $160,000 in cash revenues were also unaccounted for.
The police investigation further revealed that LeClair had allegedly taken rectory furniture and household items valued at some $20,000 when he left the parish.
Some of these items were recovered in a residence outside Ontario.
LeClair was released from custody on a promise to appear in court to face the charges on July 25th.