Former Diocesan Employee Sentenced in U.S. District Court

Felipe J. Estévez, bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine (Photo by Woody Huband/St. Augustine Catholic)

The U.S. Department of Justice released information on Sept. 2 regarding Charles David, a former employee of the Diocese of St. Augustine, who was sentenced for crimes he committed against the federal government and the diocese.

David pled guilty on Apr. 9, 2021, and this week U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis sentenced him to 33 months in federal prison for wire and tax fraud and underreported income tax. The court ordered David to forfeit $273,500 representing the wire fraud proceeds and pay $273,000 in restitution to the Diocese of St. Augustine.

“The diocese cooperated fully with the lengthy investigation by the Department of Justice and the IRS,” said Bishop Felipe Estévez of the Diocese of St. Augustine. He said he was informed by investigators that there was no way the diocese could have detected this crime by David.

“I feel justice has been served, and the diocese will be made whole by this judgment,” said Bishop Estévez. “I continue to keep Charles in my prayers.”

The diocese became aware of David’s crimes by an anonymous whistleblower and immediately reviewed internal processes and controls. An independent audit was conducted, and as a result, several measures and procedures were implemented to ensure a greater level of oversight.

The diocese recently contracted with a third-party service to provide a whistleblower and fraud hotline. The EthicsPoint hotline offers a completely confidential platform that allows any employee, parishioner, clergy, volunteer, or other interested parties of the diocese to anonymously submit concerns about suspected unethical behavior, misuse of resources or financial misconduct. The hotline is stored on the servers of EthicsPoint with only links available on the diocesan website https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/78840/index.html

“I remain firmly committed to promoting accountability, financial transparency and fiscal responsibility in the diocese,” said Bishop Estévez. “I am most grateful for the generosity of our faithful and their financial gifts to the diocese. We could not carry out Christ’s call to proclaim the Gospel message and perform charitable works without the faithful stewardship of our parishioners.”