Former Pastor of St. Mary’s County Church Pleads Guilty to Federal Bank Fraud Charges
Greenbelt, Maryland – On May 1, 2017, John S. Mattingly, age 71, of Charlotte Hall, Maryland, pleaded guilty to bank fraud in connection with a scheme to steal funds from St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, while he was the pastor.
The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron, and St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney Richard Fritz.
According to his plea agreement, Mattingly was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1972 and was the pastor of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church (St. Francis), in Leonardtown, Maryland, from 1994 until September 1, 2010, when he resigned. While serving as a parish priest, Mattingly was paid a salary and stipend by St. Francis.
From September 2006 through September 2010, Mattingly fraudulently deposited checks from parishioners made payable to St. Francis and to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which were intended by the St. Francis parishioners to be charitable donations, into a bank account he controlled. In order to conceal the scheme, Mattingly falsely represented that that the checks he deposited into his bank account would be used for charitable purposes and/or church maintenance and renovations. Mattingly did not use the charitable contributions from the St. Francis parishioners for their intended purposes, but instead transferred the fraudulently obtained funds from his bank account to his personal individual retirement account. He also wrote unauthorized checks from the St. Francis bank account payable to himself and deposited those checks into his personal individual retirement account.
Mattingly fraudulently deposited more than 500 checks, totaling at least $76,000, written by more than 135 parishioners and made payable to St. Francis or the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and not to Mattingly.
Mattingly and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement he will be sentenced to home detention from six to 18 months. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for July 31, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning commended the FBI, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, and St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Schenning thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan E. Foreman, who is prosecuting the case.