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Former Mount Carmel parish maintenance supervisor charged with stealing $97,000

Published: Tue, April 29, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Ed Runyan



The priest at Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Niles says he hopes Michael Marrara will take responsibility for the $97,000 Marrara is accused of stealing from the parish since 2007 and make restitution.

Marrara, 58, of Sayers Avenue, pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of grand theft Monday morning in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, where Judge Peter Kontos set bond at $10,000.

Father John-Michael Lavelle said he discovered within the first two weeks of his arrival at the parish in June 2012 that Marrara, then maintenance supervisor for the church, purchased about $22 worth of pool chemicals on the church’s credit card even though the church doesn’t have a pool.

When the pastor asked him about it, Marrara said he had meant to pay back the church for the chemicals but forgot.

But the pastor learned from the previous pastor that Marrara had admitted taking $9,300 from the church earlier and had promised to pay it back. But Marrara had made only two $300 payments, then stopped paying in 2011.

Pastor Lavelle called Niles police right away after learning about the pool chemicals but waited to terminate Marrara from his job until a couple of weeks later. He was advised to wait until the annual Mount Carmel Festival was over since Marrara also was the festival chairman, the pastor said.

Marrara’s employment was terminated July 23, 2012.

It took many months to complete the investigation, said Capt. Ken Criswell of the Niles Police Department, which filed the charges.

Marrara also is a full-time city employee, working in the Niles Sewer Department. A call to Niles Mayor Ralph Infante seeking information on Marrara’s employment status with the city was not returned Monday.

Father Lavelle and a committee of the parish reviewed bills dating back to 2007 arising from Marrara’s use of the parish’s credit card and uncovered numerous fraudulent charges, Father Lavelle said.

Among them were $2,838 for campground sites in Portage County, $9,974 for tuition at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, for relatives of Marrara’s, $9,783 at Sears, $10,702 at a gas station, $15,103 in charges to the telephone company Sprint and $7,541 for Time Warner cable services, according to Marrara’s indictment.

If convicted, Marrara could get 18 months in prison.

Father Lavelle said he replaced the accounting system and the former bookkeeper at the parish when he first arrived at the parish, before he even discovered that Marrara might be stealing from the parish.

A neighbor of Marrara’s, Doreen Kascsak, said she finds it hard to believe that Marrara did anything like this.

“He’s a good husband, a good father. I’m just totally shocked,” she said, adding that she’s known Marrara since high school and lived next to him 13 years.


1kleener(52 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Where is the indictment for Fr. Larry Frient who allowed this clown to do all that? I find it hilarious he thought he could get away with it. Is he using the same credit card to pay for Ingram's services? I hope the City of Niles charges him with theft also because when he was employed by the church he was always there on city time. Ridiculous.

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2handymandave(578 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

He had been stealing since 2007 ?
Great checks and balances system you have there at the church. I'd like to throw my hat in for the next maintenance man job there. I will require a credit card from the church before I start.

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3mouse(112 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Snide remarks may be entertaining but in the end all it does is encourage others to do the same.
People this is a church we are talking about. How can some one go to church every Sunday & think nothing of stealing? How can some one deny their guilt when God has been watching them right along. How can some one have so little conscience in stealing from God's house? Now the family has to carry the burden for what he has done? I bet his daughter is ashamed to admit who paid for her college tuition & how they got the money.

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4daar2055(54 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

You never know about ppl and what the are hiding. He took $9300.00 when previous pastor was there and agreed to pay it back but never did. I would have fired him then and press charges. Others need to be charged with this crime also for not getting rid of him sooner.

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5kleener(52 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

gdog, you are the moron. Why did Frient not turn it over to police like the new pastor did? You make no sense. You must be related to the crooks.

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6billdog1(5942 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

This man obviously was allowed to get away with the bad behavior once and decided he would continue with stealing because he had no consequence the first time. So he was enabled like a drunk is by his wife or parent. It does not excuse his bad behavior. I seem to be running into a lot of these religious types lately that are religious while in the sanctuary, but once they walk out the door they forgot what they just learned. Yet they have a unique way of letting you know how active they are in their church, how often they attend and who is less than desirable at the old steeple holder. They all seem to have all the gossip on each other, but have absolutely no ability to see themselves. They call themselves Christian's while quote Old Testament scripture. NEWS FLASH, Christians follow the gospel of Christ, love tolerance and patients. Not hate, resentment, jealousy, coveting, stealing, lying and fear.

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7billdog1(5942 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

No sweatpea, I'm talking about people that go every Sunday, and some cases through out the week as well.

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