Cops Find $63,000 In The Ceiling At Lavish Home Of 67 Yr-Old Priest Accused Of Embezzling $5million From The Parish He Founded

More than $63,000 was found hidden in the ceiling of the home of a Michigan priest who is accused of embezzling more than $5million.
Police searched Reverend Jonathan Wehrle’s lavish home in Williamston on Tuesday and found dozens of $2,000 bundles of cash totaling $63,392.
Wehrle, 67, was charged with six counts of embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church in Okemos last year.
Authorities have already seized $1.1million from Wehrle, and church auditors say more than $5million is missing. 
More than $63,000 was found hidden in the ceiling of the home of Reverend Jonathan Wehrle, a 67-year-old Michigan priest accused of embezzling more than $5million from his parish

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Wehrle, 67, has asked for $300,000 in donations toward his defense team. He is pictured in an undated photo released by the Ingham County Sheriff's office

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More than $63,000 was found hidden in the ceiling of the home of Reverend Jonathan Wehrle, a 67-year-old Michigan priest accused of embezzling more than $5million from his parish
Police found dozens of bundles of cash when searching the home in Williamston on Tuesday

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Police found dozens of bundles of cash when searching the home in Williamston on Tuesday
The cash found tucked behind ceiling tiles on Tuesday was reportedly labeled with the words ‘For Deposit Only- St Martha Church’.
Wehrle’s attorney Lawrence Nolan contended that a bishop allowed the priest to use church funds for a home.
Nolan said he ‘will be withdrawing’ from the criminal case on Wednesday but declined to offer further detail. 
 Wehrle's lavish home sits on 10 acres of land outside of Lansing and is valued at $1.6million

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 Wehrle’s lavish home sits on 10 acres of land outside of Lansing and is valued at $1.6million
Dozens of bundles of cash totaling $63,392 were tucked behind ceiling tiles in Wehrle's home

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Dozens of bundles of cash totaling $63,392 were tucked behind ceiling tiles in Wehrle’s home
Other evidence related to the investigation also was seized Wehrle’s 11,000-sq-ft residence, but police did not specify what that evidence includes. 
The home sits on a 10-acre property outside of Lansing and is valued at $1.6million.
Wehrle’s attorney has previously said it could have been purchased with family money, but prosecutors say he used parish funds to pay for work and materials at the home.  
Wehrle's defense attorney has said the home may have been purchased using family money

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Wehrle’s defense attorney has said the home may have been purchased using family money
Prosecutors have said Wehrle used parish funds to pay for work and materials at his property

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Prosecutors have said Wehrle used parish funds to pay for work and materials at his property
The words 'Wehrle Haus 2005' are etched into a stone at the base of the priest's home

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The words ‘Wehrle Haus 2005’ are etched into a stone at the base of the priest’s home
The 67-year-old was put on administrative leave by the Diocese of Lansing in May 2017.
He is accused of embezzling millions of dollars from St Martha Parish, which he founded in 1988. 
According to court filings, Wehrle had ‘sole access’ to St. Martha Parish’s finances and offerings, ‘with no oversight within the parish’.
Prosecutors say Wehrle had attempted to withdraw more than $700,000 from his bank account the day after the embezzlement investigation went public on May 10, 2017.   
He has been trying to raise $300,000 for his legal defense via Opus Bono, a Lapeer County-based charity that raises money to help priests.
A letter from the organization said Wehrle’s was ‘in dire need of help’, saying: ‘For Father Wehrle, this is quite literally an apocalyptic moment. 
‘The prosecutor has frozen all of his assets [and] he is unable to pay his legal team for a competent defense.’  
Michigan State police released photos of the interior of Wehrle's home following the raid

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Michigan State police released photos of the interior of Wehrle’s home following the raid
The home is outfitted with a commercial-style kitchen with high-end appliances

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The home is outfitted with a commercial-style kitchen with high-end appliances
A massive pipe organ valued at an estimated $30,000 has been stored at the home

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A massive pipe organ valued at an estimated $30,000 has been stored at the home
The bathroom windows are made of colorful stained glass similar to those in St Martha Church

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The bathroom windows are made of colorful stained glass similar to those in St Martha Church
A large swimming pool and hot tub are located inside the stately residence

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A large swimming pool and hot tub are located inside the stately residence

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