Brazilian police arrest catholic priests for looting church offering
The money was allegedly stolen over the course of a three-year period from tithes, donations, fund raising events as well as fees collected for ceremonies.
According to the reports, Ribiero along with other Catholic clergymen, were arrested on Monday, March 26, 2018.
They are reported to have stolen about 2 million reais ($608,000) from the church.
During a raid of the Ribiero's home by police officers, a false wall was discovered containing some £19, 200 wrapped in plastic bags and hidden in a secret storage space.
The money was allegedly stolen over the course of a three-year period from tithes, donations, fund raising events as well as fees collected for ceremonies like baptisms and weddings.
State prosecutors disclosed that the bishop who was appointed to the Formosa diocese in 2014, was arrested on the suspicion of leading a sophisticated scheme that diverted church funds.
An alleged scheme was uncovered with the help of telephone taps, uncovering conversations which revealed how the group laundered the money, including purchasing a cattle ranch, a lottery agency, phones, luxury cars, designer watches and gold chains.
The reports reveal that large amounts of cash in foreign currencies were also discovered.
The investigation reportedly began in 2017 after members of the congregation reported irregularities and misuse of assets by the Catholic Church.
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