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Man apologizes for stealing from Indiana County parish

| Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Cambria County man apologized on Monday to the Diocese of Greensburg for stealing thousands of dollars while he served as business manager at an Indiana County parish.

Daniel Michael Yasick, 38, of Elmora, told Indiana County Judge Thomas Bianco that he has been honest from the outset of the criminal allegations.

“I want to make right what I have done wrong,” he said.

Bianco sentenced Yasick on Monday to three months in the Indiana County Jail followed by six months under house arrest with electronic monitoring. A six-year probation term will follow.

“If you get all of the costs and restitution paid short of the six years, I will entertain a motion for early release of probation,” Bianco said.

Yasick was ordered to write a letter of apology to the diocese and Church of Resurrection Parish, which has five worship sites in northern Indiana County.

Police have said Yasick took $107,000 of church money, but prosecutors and the victims have agreed to restitution of $85,000 to avoid a hearing that would account for every dollar involved.

Yasick paid $20,000 toward his restitution on Monday, which was a requirement of an August plea agreement. He pleaded guilty to one felony count of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds.

He was arrested in October 2012 on 190 counts varying from theft to tampering with evidence for taking the money, shredding financial documents and changing figures on accounting ledgers, according to court documents.

The former parish pastor and two parishioners noticed discrepancies when they began looking into church finances after several months of not receiving requested financial records from Yasick, police have said.

Yasick resigned from his post as business manager in January 2012 after he was confronted about the inconsistencies between 2008 and 2011. According to court documents, an audit revealed unauthorized changes in the accounting system, fraudulent financial statements presented to the diocese, 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.

Defense attorney Thomas Johnson said Yasick had “accepted responsibility and shown remorse” even before criminal charges were filed.

“He came to these folks and he, in fact, admitted his wrongdoing,” Johnson said. “I think that that is an important fact that the court may want to consider.”

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

District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said during Yasick's sentencing hearing that the defendant took parishioners' hard-earned money and put the parish in financial peril.

“Mr. Yasick was in a position of trust with in the diocese,” Dougherty said. “He violated that trust.”

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can bereached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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