Woman accused of stealing more than $1 million from Florida church

Vero Beach, FL - A woman's been arrested after being accused of stealing more than a million dollars from a Florida church.

The Vero Beach Police Department arrested Deborah True following a nine-month fraud investigation into missing funds from the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Vero Beach.

Police say the investigation began after they were contact by the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach in December of 2021 regarding the misappropriation of funds that occurred over a five year period.

Investigators say True, along with the former pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church Fr. Richard Murphy, opened a bank account in the name of “Holy Cross Catholic Church” in 2012 without the knowledge of the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach.

Bank records show that nearly $1.5 million of parishioners’ donations were deposited into the account.

During their investigation, police discovered that True used more than $500,000 of the stolen funds to pay off personal lines of credit, and she withdrew an additional $147,000 from the account that was deposited into her personal checking account.

Police say Father Murphy also benefited from the fraudulent account, but he passed away in 2020.

True turned herself in to the Indian River County Jail on one count of organized fraud.

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