Stratford pastor accused of bilking parishioner - CBS 5 - KPHO

Stratford pastor accused of loaning parishioner's money to convicted felon

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The following photo of Robert Genevicz was provided by the Stratford Police Department. The following photo of Robert Genevicz was provided by the Stratford Police Department.
STRATFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A pastor in Stratford was accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from one of his parishioners.

According to his arrest warrant, Rev. Robert Genevicz admitted that he was given control of the 71-year-old woman's estate and withdrew nearly $174,000 from it.

Genevicz also told police that he gave the majority of that money to a random woman.

An emergency parish meeting was held Wednesday night to address the Genevicz's arrest.

"That doesn't look good at all," said Drew Scott of Stratford. "It doesn't seem like any of that would be in line with what the church should be doing."

"Pastor Bob," as parishioners called him, turned himself into police on Tuesday.

Neighbors told Eyewitness News that the victim can't take care of herself and trusted the pastor enough to sign her estate over to him.

"It is a big shock," said Andre Bouchahine, a friend. "All we know is that we see him helping a lot of people."

Police said accounting questions first surfaced last year when a probate court judge noticed missing money with no explanations. A deeper look by investigators exposed the problems.

The missing $174,000 had been withdrawn beginning in 2009.

When questioned about it, Genevicz said he gave $110,000 of it to a woman named Doraine Reed.

Eyewitness News learned that Reed was a convicted felon who plead guilty to forgery and larceny in 2010.

A knock on Genevicz's door went unanswered Wednesday.

"I don't believe them," said another pastor who wished to remain unnamed. "He's one of the finest people I know. Maybe he's too trusting."

Friends said they were standing by Genevicz. However, documents show that he told police he lent the money to Reed in the past, even using church funds to cash a fraudulent check for her.

Genevicz said he felt it was okay to loan the parishioner's money to Reed because she promised to pay interest on it.

Police said the victim was feeling the impact of the lost money. They said she's in an assistant living facility and could be forced out if she can't keep up with the fees.

"I'm shocked," the unnamed pastor said. "That's why I came over to talk to him personally and I feel fine with what he's told me."

Reed has not been charged with a crime, but police in Trumbull said they are investigating other cases in which she may be involved.

Genevicz was released on bond, but his fate at the church was still up in the air as of Thursday.

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