Maple Glen Catholic school principal charged with stealing $25,000 from school

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NORRISTOWN – Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Upper Dublin Township Police Chief Francis Wheatley announced on Wednesday the arrest of John C. McGrath, 56, of East Norriton, for multiple crimes related to the theft of over $25,000 from Our Lady of Mercy. Maple Glen Regional Catholic School.

According to a statement released by Steele, Upper Dublin Police were contacted on November 4, 2021 by an official from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia regarding an internal investigation which indicated that school principal McGrath stole school funds during some time. The subsequent investigation by Upper Dublin Township Police found that McGrath made unauthorized payments for personal expenses, holidays and entertainment expenses using school credit cards totaling $25,436.54 , police said.

McGrath used a credit card issued by the school, Venmo and Amazon for the fraudulent transactions, police say. He allegedly used Venmo linked to a school credit card to make 11 transactions deemed personal totaling $12,777.15.

These transactions included five rent payments for the defendant’s personal residence. The school credit card was used for an additional 76 transactions totaling $7,905.29, which also turned out to be personal. The charges were for restaurants, bars, Door Dash, Uber, hotel stays and Amazon purchases of clothing and household items, some of which were gifted to a teacher at the school, police said. .

Additionally, the charge on the school’s credit card totaling $3,554.10 was for a non-existent conference in Washington, D.C. The expense was for a hotel stay and restaurants for a vacation taken by McGrath, his brother, and a teacher.

Finally, in mid-2020, McGrath raised $1,200 through his personal Venmo account from school families to purchase “OLM Strong” t-shirts; this money was never transferred to the school coffers. According to the probable cause affidavit in the criminal complaint, 63 families sent a total of $1,200 to McGrath’s Venmo account as payment for t-shirts. These records show that funds from families who purchased T-shirts were transferred to other payment instruments in McGrath’s Venmo account. When questioned by police, McGrath said he had no recollection of the transactions, according to police.

McGrath is charged with several crimes, including related to stealing and receiving stolen property, as well as tampering without oath to authorities. He was arraigned before Magistrate District Judge Patricia A. Zaffarano, who set bail at $50,000 with no guarantees, and he was released. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., April 1, 2022 before Judge Zaffarano.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tanner C. Beck, captain of the Economic and Major Crimes Unit.

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