Former director of Episcopal nonprofit accused of stealing $1.4 million         

Viacheslav Bublyk/Unsplash
Viacheslav Bublyk/Unsplash

The former leader of an Episcopal nonprofit insurance corporation based in Pennsylvania is being investigated after an audit found that he misappropriated over $1.4 million from the fund.

John Miller, who previously served as executive director and treasurer of the Clergy Assurance Fund, is the subject of an investigation over his alleged mishandling of funds.

The Clergy Assurance Fund referred the allegations against Miller to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, according to the Episcopal News Service.

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The Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutiérrez, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, said in a statement quoted by ENS that he was “disappointed and devastated to learn of this potential fraud.”

“Fortunately, it did not impact those who were seeking funds from CAF. I trust that the justice system will come to the correct resolution on this,” Bishop Gutiérrez stated.

Last week, an Anglican Communion publication called The Living Church published a report documenting the allegations against Miller, which stem from earlier this year.

The Living Church obtained a July 11 letter written by Clergy Assurance Fund Vice President James L. Pope, which claimed that from January 2016 to March of this year, “Miller made duplicates of death benefit payments using fraudulent checks, some of which contained the forged signature of the vice president of Clergy Assurance Fund.”

“He paid the checks to himself and deposited them in his checking account in the total amount of $1,425,400. In addition, he had used the credit card for numerous personal expenditures, totaling $20,363,” continued the letter.

The approximately $20,000 in credit card expenses included $11,433 for personal healthcare expenses, as well as $8,930 for Uber rides and transportation, according to the letter.

Pope went on to explain in the letter that, despite the over $1.4 million that was taken, the fund was still “very well-funded,” being able to “fully and promptly comply with all requests for policy death benefits from beneficiaries, as well as provide its wellness and other grants as it has before.”

The fund was originally created in 1769, before the official founding of The Episcopal Church, and was originally known as The Widows Corporation.

The corporation changed its name to Clergy Assurance Fund in 2019 to reflect a broader scope of its ministry work, which has since gone beyond just looking after the widows of clergy.

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