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East Norriton Man Charged With Felonies in Theft of $25,000+ From School; DA Alleges

📸 Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

NORRISTOWN, PA - Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Upper Dublin Township Police Chief Francis Wheatley announce the arrest of John C. McGrath, 56, of East Norriton, on multiple felonies related to the theft of more than $25,000 from Our Lady of Mercy Regional Catholic School in Maple Glen.

Upper Dublin Police were contacted on Nov. 4, 2021 by an official with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia regarding an internal investigation that indicated that the Our Lady of Mercy Regional Catholic School Principal John McGrath had been stealing school funds over a period of time. The ensuing investigation by Upper Dublin Township Police found that McGrath had made unauthorized payments for personal expenses, a vacation and entertainment expenses using school credit cards totaling $25,436.54.

McGrath used a school-issued credit card, Venmo and Amazon for the fraudulent transactions. McGrath used Venmo tied to a school credit card to make 11 transactions that were found to be personal totaling $12,777.15. Those transactions included five rent payments for the defendant’s personal residence. The school credit card was used for 76 additional transactions totaling $7,905.29, which were also found to be personal. Those charges were for restaurants, bars, Door Dash, Uber, hotel stays and purchases on Amazon for clothing and housewares, some of which were gifted to a teacher at the school. Additionally, charges on the school credit card totaling $3,554.10 were for a non-existent conference in Washington, D.C. The expenses were for a hotel stay and restaurants for a vacation taken by McGrath, his brother and a teacher. Finally, in mid-2020, McGrath collected $1,200 via his personal Venmo account from school families in order to purchase “OLM Strong” T-shirts; that money was never transferred to the school coffers.

McGrath is charged with multiple felonies including Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activity, Theft by Unlawful Taking, Theft by Deception, Receiving Stolen Property and Access Device Fraud, as well as Unsworn Falsification to Authorities. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Patricia A. Zaffarano, who set bail at $50,000 unsecured, and he was released. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., April 1, 2022 before Judge Zaffarano.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tanner C. Beck, Captain of the Economic and Major Crimes Unit.

Approved for release: Kevin R. Steele


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