Feds: Ex-pastor stole St. Jude funds
April 18, 2014
A former Havre priest has denied charges in federal court in Great Falls alleging he stole money donated to St. Jude Thaddeus Church.
The Rev. Dale Yurkovic is scheduled to go on trial June 18 for charges of wire fraud, money laundering and forfeiture.
Yurkovic, 61, listed as a resident of Las Vegas, pleaded not guilty in a hearing April 8, according to a press release issued Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Montana.
The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings that includes St. Jude Thaddeus Parish had not returned calls by printing deadline this morning asking Yurkovic's status with the church.
Yurkovic was assigned as pastor of St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in July 2009, replacing the Rev. Robert Grosch, who was assigned as pastor of St. Patrick's Co-Cathredral in Billings. Yurkovic was removed as pastor late in 2011, and replaced by the Rev. Dan Wathen.
According to the indictment under the wire fraud charge, Dec. 11, 2009, Yurkovic deposited a $50,000 check donated to St. Jude's in Havre into an account he opened without the knowledge of the church. He later transferred the money into his personal account and used it for himself, the indictment says.
The indictment under the money laundering charge says Yurkovic wire transferred $14,587.92 from the church account to his personal account on Feb. 12, 2010.
The indictment does not say on what Yurkovic is accused of spending the money.
The maximum penalty on the wire fraud charge is 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release. The money laundering has a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
The forfeiture charge says that if convicted of wire fraud, Yurkovic shall forfeit to the government any property derived through the proceeds of the alleged offense.
Yurkovic instituted several changes in the church, including closing the Havre Central building at St. Jude Thaddeus School in a cost-saving effort, starting a drive to upgrade the playground at the school and closing the parish program that provided assistance to people in need.