Former Elementary School Principal Charged with Theft of Funds

Diocese uncovered financial irregularities, notified law enforcement

     Alerted by the Diocese of Allentown to financial irregularities at one of its schools, the Berks County District Attorney has filed criminal charges against the school’s former principal.

     Thomas J. Murphy, former principal of St. Francis Academy, a regional elementary school in Bally, was charged with theft by deception, theft by failure to make required deposits, and conspiracy. Murphy’s wife, Ann Marie, was charged with receiving stolen property and conspiracy.

     The Diocese noticed the irregularities during an internal audit in August 2018. It then performed a forensic audit, and turned the results of that audit over to the District Attorney in mid-September. The Diocese then removed Murphy as principal. The Diocese cooperated with civil authorities at all times during the investigation.

     Murphy and his wife were charged with diverting approximately $150,000 of school money for their personal use. 

     Murphy also previously served as a Deacon at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Bally. 

     “Our financial audits are designed to ensure that the funds entrusted to us by parishioners, school parents and donors are used for the intended purpose,” said Mark E. Smith, Chief Financial Officer for the Diocese. He said the Diocese will pursue restitution.