St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - A former employee of the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica was sentenced Friday to 10 years for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the church over a three year periodm, but the judge ultimately suspended his sentence and ordered him to serve probation.
Between May 2007 and June 13, 2010, Maximilian Tenney worked for the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica as an executive assistant. The crimes took place between June 2008 and July 2010.
As an executive assistant, he had access to the cathedral's choir checking account, and was placed in charge of bank transactions as well as inputting financial information into logs and reconciling the bank account.
During an Archdiocese audit in July 2010, improper disbursements from the bank account were discovered. Twelve checks, ranging between $625 and $1,638, were written payable to Tenney's father and deposited into his father's bank account. He used this account for his direct deposit payroll while employed with the Archdiocese.
The indictment stated six more checks were written for various purposes.
The checks were signed with a rubber stamp signature of a cathedral official who said he never used the stamp to sign the checks.
Tenney acquired at least $36,695.18 fraudulently from the church. He was confronted about the theft and said he was willing to return the missing money.
Recently, he had been employed as the music director of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in downtown Alexandria, Louisiana.
Maximilian Tenney, 33, was arrested in November 2011 by the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force and Alexandria police after the Alexandria Police Department received tips about his whereabouts. The information was sent to the U.S. Marshal's Office in St. Louis, which then contacted the U.S. Marshal's Office in New Orleans.
Tenney was indicted in St. Louis in October 2011 on one count of theft/stealing in excess of $25,000 and an additional 15 counts of forgery. He was sentenced to 10 years on the stealing charge and seven years on the forgery charges. The prison terms were to be served concurrently. However, the judge issued a suspended execution of sentence (SES) for Tenney and ordered him to serve three years probation. If Tenney violates his probation, he will have to go to prison to serve his 10 year sentence.
If Tenney does not make good on restitution, he will have violated his probation and must go to jail for 10 years. He has 30 days to pay back $25,000 to the St. Louis Archdiocese and three years to pay back the remaining amount.