A retired clergyman, now 77, presided over several parishes in the Main-Spessart county, faces 50 counts of serious fraud for pocketing €1.088 million that was intended for a Church foundation and the diocese, according to state prosecutors in Würzburg.
Following a raid on his home, police discovered that the retired priest had been hoarding cash donated to the Church as well as a collection of other valuable objects such as rare coins.
He was also found to have used Church funds tied up in savings bonds and annuity agreements to channel money into accounts that only he had access to and that were unknown to the Church. A large part of the stolen cash was insured.
His former congregation were reportedly shocked at the turn of events, given that the accused was known as being a famously frugal character.
Having retired in December 2009, the man was arrested last May and has been awaiting trial in a monastery in the district of Lower Franconia. He is on remand as there is no perceived risk of collusion or fleeing charges.
The former priest has since admitted the charges against him.