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Ex-Indiana church business manager charged in $107K theft

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 7:24 a.m.

A former church business manager in northern Indiana County was charged with theft and a litany of other counts on Tuesday because police said he took more than $100,000 of church money.

Daniel Michael Yasick, 37, resigned in January from his job as business manager of Church of The Resurrection, according to the Diocese of Greensburg.

Court documents list addresses for Yasick in Elmora and on First Avenue in Heilwood.

State police conducted an eight-month investigation before Yasick was charged and arraigned on Tuesday. His bond is set at $75,000.

He faces charges of theft; theft by deception; receiving stolen property; fraudulent destruction, removal or concealment of recordable instrument; forgery; theft by failure to make the required disposition of funds received; tampering with records or identification; and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

Church of the Resurrection Parish has 2,310 members, according to 2012 diocese records. The parish was formed in 1995 and consists of five worship sites in Clymer, Ernest, Glen Campbell, Heilwood and Rossiter.

In a criminal complaint, police state that Yasick took at least $107,000 of the church's funds. Yasick also “(shredded) documents to be used to balance the church banking and accounts and (changed) values on the accounting ledger and computer,” the complaint states.

Thomas G. Johnson, Yasick's attorney, said that he hasn't “had an opportunity to review (the charges) at length and with specificity.” He declined further comment.

After several months of not receiving requested financial reports and Yasick “not performing the job of business manager,” the Rev. Lawrence L. Manchas, parish pastor, and two parishioners began looking into the church finances.

In January, Manchas confronted Yasick about inconsistencies in the church's finances. Yasick admitted to taking about $23,000 from the church, said he'd pay it back and resigned.

That day, Yasick logged into the accounting system at 11:15 p.m., changed the system date and recorded disbursement batches, voided payments, prepared bank reconciliations and shredded financial documents.

The shredded documents were seized as evidence and put back into their original form.

According to police, an audit revealed unauthorized changes in the accounting system, fraudulent financial statements presented to the Diocese of Greensburg, checks issued to false payees, unauthorized use of electronic signature, altered bank statements, improper accounting of cemetery fund transactions and personal use of the church's Lowe's credit card.

Police list the dates of the incident between 2008 and 2011.

Jerry Zufelt, diocese spokesman, said in a statement that Manchas told diocesan officials about the problems after an initial internal financial review by parishioners and parish finance council members.

The diocese hired a forensic auditing firm that conducted additional auditing and forwarded their findings to state police.

“All the steps followed diocesan policies,” Zufelt said in the statement.

Parish and diocesan officials cooperated fully with the state police investigation, Zufelt said in the statement. The diocese declined further comment.

Yasick faces a preliminary hearing on Oct. 23 before District Judge George M. Thachik.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

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