Two former pastors of St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach, Fla., have been accused of misappropriating $8.6 million from the church during the past 42 years – spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on real estate, travel, gambling and female companions, reports the Palm Beach Post. Detectives called former priests John Skehan and Francis Guinan “professional money launderers” who repeatedly skimmed money from collection plates, stashing the cash in “secret slush funds.”
Skehan is alleged to have put nearly $1.6 million in four bank accounts in cash, donation checks written by congregates, donated stock sales from the building fund and bequeathed money. Guinan allegedly continued putting cash in the bank accounts when he succeeded Skehan as pastor in 2003, taking an estimated $400,000. Shehan was arrested as he returned from Ireland, where he owns a cottage and pub and where he vacations during the summer. Skehan, 79, was said to be remorseful during an interview with detectives early Thursday, admitting to some misappropriations while trying to justify some of the good he had done at the church. Guinan, meanwhile, is on a cruise in Australia.