WILLIAMSTON, Michigan — You can’t buy your way into heaven.
Authorities discovered $63,000 in cash hidden in the ceiling of a Catholic priest charged with embezzling more than $5 million from a Michigan parish.
Cops say they found the cash — mostly in $2,000 bundles of $20 bills — wrapped in paper bands stamped with the words: “For deposit only – St. Martha Parish and School.”
The cash was discovered above the tiles in the basement during a second search of the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle’s home, the Lansing State Journal reported.
Investigators believe the money was embezzled from the parish where Wehrle was pastor. In all, more than $1.1 million in assets has been seized in connection with the investigation, police said.
Officials have accused Wehrle of using funds from his Okemos parish to pay for work and materials at the home.
Wehrle has been trying to raise $300,000 for his legal defense and is “in dire need of help,” according to a letter circulated on his behalf by Opus Bono, a charity that raises money to help priests.
“For Father Wehrle, this is quite literally an apocalyptic moment,” the letter said. “The prosecutor has frozen all of his assets … he is unable to pay his legal team for a competent defense.”