$600,000 stolen from Des Moines diocese

Catholic News Service reports:

More than $600,000 stolen from Des Moines Diocese in bank-related fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNS) -- Thieves electronically stole more than $600,000 from a Diocese of Des Moines bank account on two days in August, the diocese and the bank involved said.

As of Sept. 2, $202,000 had been recovered by the bank, according to Anne Marie Cox, director of communications for the diocese.

The theft occurred Aug. 13 and 16 after thieves illegally obtained information on the diocesan accounts at Bankers Trust and electronically transferred funds to "numerous recipients" across the United States, the diocese said in a statement Aug. 26.

We say: Charlottesville reveals the weeping wound of racism. What do we, the American Catholic faith community, do next? Read the editorial.

Bankers Trust reported the transfers to the diocese Aug. 17 and diocesan financial officials immediately asked the bank to close the targeted accounts, Cox told Catholic News Service.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the thefts. As part of its probe, FBI agents took several diocesan computers.

The diocese is cooperating with federal agents, Cox said. She declined further comment Sept. 2, citing the ongoing investigation.

The diocese's statement said law enforcement officials believe the thieves are part of "a highly sophisticated operation, most likely based overseas."

"No diocesan or bank staff is suspected" of involvement in the theft, the diocese said.

Des Moines Bishop Richard E. Pates said in the statement that the loss is covered by insurance.

"We have been advised that such criminal activity is rampant," he said. "We trust, however, that legal authorities are doing all they can to investigate this matter."

A spokesman for Bankers Trust, which identifies itself on its website as the largest locally owned bank in Iowa, could not be reached for comment.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.