Legal action taken after Diocese of Steubenville financial investigation

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Legal action will be taken against the former Diocese of Steubenville comptroller due to his actions, according to Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton.

Auditors with Schneider Downs completed their report after the investigation of the diocesan finance officer and revealed their finding to the Bodman law firm, which has reported that information to Bishop Monforton.

According to a press release, the diocese is cooperating with the appropriate taxing authorities concerning these findings.

Bishop Monforton made the following statements in regard to the incident:

A misallocation of funds in the finance office occurred between 2004 and 2016, as a result of actions of the former comptroller. Payroll taxes were withheld from employees’ checks, but the money was not sent to the appropriate taxing authorities. The money that should have been used to pay employee withholding taxes was instead apparently used for other diocesan purposes. Because of this failure to pay withholding taxes, the diocese has paid back 3.5 million dollars to proper taxing authorities. The money used to pay the taxing authorities came from liquidating unrestricted diocesan investments.

The former comptroller made it appear to council that the diocese was operating in the black every year.

The diocese was losing money during those years, contrary to the reports. Bishop Monforton said fiscal austerity measures have been implemented.

According to the bishop, the former diocesan chief financial officer during those years, who also served as vicar general, did not exercise appropriate administrative oversight with the finance office.

According to a press release, the diocese has taken the appropriate steps to assure that these financial irregularities will never happen again.

The diocese has hired a new Chief Financial Officer, and new financial controls have been implemented.

“As shepherd of the diocese, I take responsibility for actions that have occurred in the finance office. I am confident that the new measures and internal controls we have adopted have fully resolved the situation and will assure that these irregularities do not occur in the future,” said the bishop.

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