By Kevin J. Jones
Alleging embezzlement of over $200,000, federal prosecutors have filed charges against John Lynch, a former executive of the historically Catholic Michigan non-profit Holy Cross Children’s Services .
“In 2017, Holy Cross Services’ management discovered financial irregularities indicative of possible embezzlement activity,” the nonprofit organization said in a statement. The organization initiated an audit performed by an outside accounting firm and notified its insurance carriers, and reported the matter to law enforcement, including the FBI.
The investigation was prompted when an employee noticed apparent personal expenses in Lynch’s use of the Holy Cross credit card. Lynch was fired in April 2017.
Holy Cross reached an “amicable resolution” with its insurance carriers and has “worked closely with the FBI” regarding the case.
“We want to assure all our donors, stakeholders, clients and partners, that Holy Cross fully cooperated throughout the investigation, and that the organization has implemented best practices and safeguards to prevent this from ever happening again,” the nonprofit said.
The charity’s former CEO and chief financial officer, 56-year-old Lynch, is accused of stealing more than $240,000 from the charity and allegedly spent it on shopping sprees, vacations, expensive dinners, personal credit card and mortgage debt, and relatives who kicked back money to him, The Detroit News reports.
If convicted, he faces federal charges of mail and wire fraud, crimes both punishable by up to 20 years in prison. He is also accused of stealing money from an organization that receives federal funds, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Holy Cross Children’s Services is based in Clinton, Mich. It was founded as Boysville of Michigan in 1948 by the Catholic bishops of Michigan. In 2019, Boysville of Michigan became Holy Cross Services and is not under the auspices of any diocese, the organization said.
Holy Cross Children’s Services serves abused and neglected children, youth and young adults with substance abuse and mental health problems, as well as homeless children and adults. Its statewide work includes financial support, welfare and behavioral health care for children and their families in need. It also operates Samaritan Center, which provides community resources and health care on Detroit’s East Side.