Thou Shalt Not Steal! ‘Parish Priest Scammed Over Rs 1 Crore of Church Funds’ say Faithful

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Mangaluru: We have heard many stories in the past about embezzlement and misappropriation of collection money by Catholic priests. Many priests have been indicted for allegedly embezzling large amount of money, sometimes over a period of decades. Embezzlement is often a problem of nonprofit organizations, but Catholic parishes may be particularly vulnerable because of the antiquated ways in which they often gather money, through donations, fund raising events or Sunday collections.. Here is yet another story that I have come to know through various sources, including few parishioners, as to how their Parish priest gone missing for over a week, has been involved in money fraud. Seems like these days, some of the Catholic priests don’t practice what they preach to the faithful ?.

Just to be clear, I am not running this article to be critical of the Catholic Church but only as a warning, consistent with the fraud and deception concerns that I am posting here. Apart from donations from the parishioners locally and abroad, the parish also collects money through tithing (Sunday Church collection). I was raised as a Catholic by my devoted parents, went to a Catholic grade school, High school and College and even served as an “altar boy”. And as a grown up man, I practice my faith very seriously and feel proud to be a Roman Catholic.


Few of the parishioners belonging to Holy Cross Church-Cordel/Kulshekar whom I met this morning after mass were eager and ready to speak out about their Parish Priest Fr Valerian Pinto (who is now transferred and will take charge as parish priest of Fajir church on 4 June. God bless this church!) whom they believe has swindled church funds to the tune of over Rs one crore. I learned that while few of the parishioners have stood behind their parish priest and forgiven him for his acts, but quite a few members of the parish council didn’t wanted this issue to go unattended, and so they have spread the actual facts- and many parishioners have gathered all those information and are sharing it with others, including the media.

Alwyn P, a parishioner speaking to said, “As per what I have heard from the few of the parish council members after the council meeting that was held on 24 May 2015, many believe that our parish priest has scammed over Rs 1 crore, by way of adjusting/paying over the estimated costs of certain church projects. Seems like every new project that was undertaken by Fr Pinto has been over billed, thereby resulting in scam/fraud. I have also got the news from the council members that Fr Pinto has even transferred nearly Rs 8 lakhs of church funds into the bank accounts of couple of his relatives. It is also found that Fr Pinto has even withdrawn money through ‘self’ made cheques and done payments to contractors the illegal way”.

Severine VS, yet another parishioner said, “It’s really a shame for us that we belonged to this parish under Fr Pinto as parish priest. Even in spite of the news being aired on VH and other sources, I don’t know why the Bishop has kept quite and not taking action. This speaks that something fishy is going on. If Fr Valerian Pinto admits that he has done nothing wrong or scammed money, why did he go missing for days right after the 24 May Council meeting. How come all of a sudden he was admitted to a hospital in the outskirts of Mangaluru, when there are so many hospitals in the City, -he could have been treated at Fr Muller’s Hospital, Kankanady run by the diocese? I think these are all the games someone is playing to save the face of the priest and the concerned authorities.”

After getting some of the details pertaining to this scam issue, I contacted Vice President of Holy Cross Parish Council, Praveen Patrao, who said to me that since he was busy with the preparations of the new priest taking over as parish priest there this evening (3 June), that he would definitely furnish me with more details tomorrow. So keep your fingers crossed as to what information I will get from the VP, and publish it here on this website. Now that we Catholics have been alerted with this church funds scamming incident, (which could be true or false until someone is proven guilty), do we need to think twice in future before we donate to church or tithe.

I am absolutely convinced on many levels of the importance of tithing. If everyone tithed and gave their donations to responsible entities, I firmly believe we could reduce our tax rate to almost zero, as we would not need to inappropriately rely on government to provide social charity that is far better administered by private entities. Furthermore, I believe a lifetime of personal tithing has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed thus far in life, another reason I strongly encourage others to apply this amazing principle in their own lives. From what I understand this works best if you don’t expect anything in return but just do it because you realize that it is the right thing to do.

But what really and deeply saddens me to see so much of the hard earned revenue donated was being embezzled by some of the clergy. So, I feel it is my responsibility to bring this to the attention of those who are attending Catholic churches so they can hold their priests accountable to make sure this does not continue to occur, and that the hard earned donations or tithing (Sunday collection) can really be used to serve those who truly need it. I suspect that the Catholic church is not the only church where embezzlement occurs. So if you are donating to your church my caution is don’t do it blindly. Do it with responsibility.

It is important to be a wise steward of your donations so they are used most effectively. This is not an easy assignment. Most of you reading this won’t have the same problem in finding out how to responsibly distribute your hard earned money, but whatever you donate, make sure that the funds are being used wisely. You never know, you may witness many corrupt, evil, deceptive, & UNHEALTHY things may go on in your church. The truth comes out when someone spills the beans or the concerned church authorities are caught red handed. I believe that those blessed, must return to the neediest, several fold. Or we will have to keep quite and pardon some of these clergy, and follow what Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

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  1. Good article. Eye opener. In democtratic county like ours, look at some of the poiticians who swindle in crores…so all will follow the leader.

  2. Fr. Valerian Pinto is one of the most charismatic and fearless priests our Mangalore diocese has at the moment. I have known him since my childhood when he was the parish priest of Nakre Church as I had constant interaction with him due to our church youth activities. He is an able administrator and considered to be a strong orator. His works speaks of his ability and especially the way he handled the Church affairs during the infamous attrocities against Christians during the previous BJP Government in Karnataka. It is bit hard to believe that he has swindled the Church funds for his personal use. I only hope the truth comes out soon and our trust in our Clergy’s restored.

  3. An eye opener.
    Good Orator yes, good administrator yes, works speaks yes, but as to the swindling of funds, need to come out with the thorough investigations wherever he has been in power.

  4. Excellent reporting a non-bias website which caters to the readers about the true facts and stories happening here and around the world. Great job-keep up the good work.

  5. thanks Alfie,for your article,which is true without raising any doubts on preists,who are now acting like CEO of companys and not gods servant.

  6. Its quite unfortunate that the clergy is galvanized by peoples sentiments and not to mention inaction of our Mangalorean Bishop
    Today there is no accountability of funds received from believers.
    There is no check on personal expenses of clergy, foreign trips etc
    No control of commercial activities like ‘renting church hall’ (not to mention exhorbitant charges)

    Attitudes of clergy these days are like zamindars. They like to be served.

    If I’m not wrong the role of this priests in police atrocities in Kulshekar church is also questionable.


  8. 1 Timothy 5:18 (ERV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

    18 As the Scriptures say, “When a work animal is being used to separate grain, don’t keep it from eating the grain.” And the Scriptures also say, “A worker should be given his pay.”

    If the basic needs were met no one needs to use such measures.
    do you know what they are paid?
    When did they get a raise.
    What’s wrong if they accept for tips?
    I have seen a senior priests old age home.
    No one to talk to.
    Even the statues in the room do not seem to react.

  9. Its very simple. Every parish has a group for the parish priest and a group against the priest. If the story maker wants to interview the group against the parish priest, he can bring out many stories of the kind.

  10. Hi i have nothing go do with the person nor do i know him but I dont belive nor enjoy reading such news. This is the reason we catholics dont grow up society, because we aint united. We find pleasure in bringing someone down. All of the people talk as if they are pure and sainthood. Guys dont fear man but fear god every tear is a curse.

  11. When there is no need the parish priests go ahead with various constructions in the churches. Where the hall rent goes? The people pour money when the priest announces from the altar. Priests use the trick of curse whoever stands for justice. In these types of scams who has to curse whom? It is high time that people take over financial matters and priests handle only spiritual responsibilities. Kumsar kumgar, resper, baptizm santuksanv. Otherwise bigger scams will follow. There are examples of priests asking the donors to write the cheques to their personal name. People should demand receipt for their donation.

  12. This article should be read as an alert after mass during announcements. Kindly translate in konkani so that people will be enlightened.

  13. Enough is enough- this priest has been playing with parishioners money for years- its about time that the diocese sleuth into his behavior and take necessary action.

    Thanks for a excellent report- indeed a eye opener.

  14. At last a website was bold enough to publicize this scam committed a parish priest – thank you for an elaborate and informative article – now the question is that whether we need to trust our PP after this incident. I am not going to contribute during the Sunday mass. Absolutely its shameful this occurred in a Catholic church.

  15. Religion has become a lucrative business irrespective of which religion one belongs to and priests are action like CEO’s.

  16. They are Govli and we are big Bokre……. and these Govli’s have their Kole (fox) to loot this Bokre….

  17. Kulshekar parish has a notorious history of confrontation with their priests from long time whoever has been the vicar there.

    I am not a fan of priests but doubt the above could be a perception. Why it was Rs 1 crore not Rs 90 lakhs or not Rs 1.25 crores. When a priest assumes role of a vicar in a new parish there are lot of expectations and changes that need to be made. He has to take the lead and then parishioners comment. The priest is so old so why would he swindle this much money at his age when he has no family of his own.

    The priest is not directly responsible in handling finance and I am sure there are book keepers to do the job. Has he confirmed that Rs 1 crore has been swindled?

    Normally people know about the income but do they know the expenditures too? Bigger the church more the expenses on day to day maintenance. If one carefully observes the collection box (tithing) on Sunday most people still put coins or small denomination notes. This money meets only the candle, electricity and other expenses of running the church.

  18. In the modern world some govlis have become bolpe. the effect is of paishe paishe paishe which should be separated from religion. Jesus well said mujem ghar tumi choraanchem bhunyaar kelam.

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