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Embezzlement Plagues Many Churches; Trust, Lack of Oversight Leave Nonprofits Vulnerable to Theft, Experts Say
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Author: Smietana, Bob
Date: Feb 12, 2005
Start Page: B.08
Section: METRO

When the Roman Catholic priest resigned in July, the Archdiocese of Chicago said it had discovered that [Brian Lisowski] had systematically skimmed more than $1 million from the parish in his five years as pastor. The theft became apparent when the amount gathered in collections increased dramatically after Lisowski left.

GuideOne Insurance, which insures about 45,000 churches in the United States, has paid an average of $2.9 million on about 1,800 theft claims by churches in each of the past five years, company spokeswoman Emily Abbas said. Those figures include theft by outsiders as well as embezzlement.

In the case of St. Bede, the system caught up with Lisowski, archdiocese spokesman Jim Dwyer said. When confronted, Lisowski admitted what he had done and repaid more than $1.2 million.

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