The former long-time treasurer/secretary for the Norwalk Knights of Columbus Home Association is accused of skimming more than $100,000 from the group over a five-year period.
And for that, a Huron County grand jury has indicted the Norwalk resident on felony charges.
Gerald R. Weisenberger, 66, of 25 E. Washington St., Apt. B., is charged with two counts of theft and one count securing writings by deception -- all fourth-degree felonies.
Weisenberger was one of 13 suspects indicted Friday. The suspect was the treasurer/secretary for 21 years.
Knights representatives spoke to the Norwalk Police Department about the allegations in June, current treasurer/secretary John Evans said.
Evans, who took over as treasurer/secretary about April, said the suspect skimmed more than $100,000 from the home association, which handles the bills for the Knights of Columbus, from 2006 until 2011, based on a review of financial records.
The situation reportedly starts with the Knights selling the property at 254 W. Main St. nearly eight years ago.
"We sold the building we were in for many years and now we rent (there)," Evans said. "The group continues to rent its space and hold meetings with a 10-year lease at $1 per year."
"The Knights of Columbus sold the building and grounds Sept. 7, 2005 for over $150,000 with (a) down payment of $50,000, which included an agreement of $25,000 each year plus interest," he said.
As part of the sale agreement, the new owners agreed to spend an additional $50,000 for improvements to repair the parking lot, roof and upgrade the utilities.
"The Norwalk (Knights) council members approved the sale and purchase with agreement that the four annual payments be invested. Annually at the home association meeting, a balance sheet was provided with a list of current CDs -- interest rate and due date. During a review of bank statements, it was noted that in 2013 there were no known CDs," said Evans, who researched the records and investments.
"After reviewing account print-outs at the bank, a $30,000 CD was initiated in 2006, and less than one year later, was valued near $15,500. It seemed as though the CD was canceled early on and money then transferred into the home association checking account that only required one signature," he said.
"Subsequently, less money was transferred into a smaller CD. Leaders at the Knights of Columbus Home Association noticed discrepancies in the following annual deposits from 2007, 2008 and 2009, but the fifth deposit in 2010 was invested in a mutual fund," Evans said.
"Through random checks and balances of computer statements provided by the banking institution, there were clearly multiple CD transfers to checking account. Cash withdrawals were often cited by bank slip imaging records with signature of the recipient," he continued.
"The leaders and membership hope to obtain full restitution in this matter. There was never an audit of the investment accounts by any member as individual trust seemed to be a factor."
The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Conn., in 1882, it was named in honor of the navigator Christopher Columbus. Originally serving as a mutual benefit society to low-income immigrant Catholics, it developed into a fraternal service organization dedicated to providing charitable services, promoting Catholic education and actively defending Catholicism in various nations.
There are more than 1.8 million members in 15,000 councils, with nearly 200 councils on college campuses. Membership is limited to Catholic men aged 18 or older. Membership consists of four different degrees, each exemplifying a different principle of the order.