Florida Woman Accused Of Stealing Over $500,000 From Church

Photo: Vero Beach Police Department

A Florida woman was arrested for allegedly stealing over a million dollars from her Catholic church, according to WPLG.

Deborah True, 69, surrendered herself to authorities on Monday (September 19) after the Vero Beach Police Department wrapped up a nine-month fraud investigation. The Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach reached out to police on December 2021 after reports of possible misappropriation of funds at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Vero Beach.

Investigators accused True of opening a secret bank account in the church's name alongside former pastor Father Richard Murphy in 2012. The account was reportedly under the church's name and was hidden from the Catholic Dioceses. True used to work as the Holy Cross Catholic Church's parish administrator.

The duo deposited nearly $1.5 million of parishioners' donations into the account since 2015, according to bank records. Police allege that True used over $500,000 to pay off personal lines of credit and siphoned another $147,000 into her bank account. Investigators say Murphy, who died in 2020, personally benefitted from these stolen funds, too.

True was booked into the Indian River County Jail for one count of organized fraud. She's since bonded out of jail and is awaiting trial.

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