STRATFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A Stratford pastor is facing criminal charges. He’s accused of stealing from an elderly church member.
Police say the pastor stole more than $170,000 from a retired school teacher.
He’s known as Pastor Bob, adored by his congregants. But Wednesday night, he’s accused of doing the unthinkable, milking an elderly church member at Stratford Baptist Church out of her life savings.
Congregants of the Stratford Baptist Church held a private meeting with their pastor, Robert Genevicz, the man who is accused of stealing nearly $200,000 from an elderly church member.
“I just don’t want to make any comment,” said a church member.
They didn’t want to talk about the allegations made against the man they call ‘Pastor Bob.’
“The allegations right now are that he was taking some money and embezzling some funds,” said Patrick Ridenhour, Stratford Police Chief .
After learning of the arrest warrant, 67-year-old Genevicz turned himself in to Stratford police, who then charged him with first degree larceny.
“Our job was to find out whether or not there was entitlement that money. Our investigation revealed that he should be charged with the larceny first,” said Ridenhour.
The elderly victim left her accounts and funds in the hands of a man she thought she could trust, her pastor. Within a few years her life savings was wiped out.
“There were numerous ATM withdrawals checked, numerous checks written out to cash, checks written out to God knows who without any billing,” said Attorney Joe Mager Jr, Mager & Mager.
Genevicz allegedly used the stolen cash to fund his lavish lifestyle, reportedly buying a Mercedes and Hummer. The pastor’s friends say they don’t buy it.
“He’s my friend. And I know him. I know what he does. I just came by to tell him I love you, you’re in my prayers and you have my support,” said Rev. Michal Gitner, St. Joseph of Stratford.
Attorney Joe Mager Jr. overseas the 72-year-old’s estate, a responsibility formerly held by Genevicz. He says his client used her life savings to pay for her assisted living, but when the money’s gone…..
“Once she runs out she will go on state aid and she will have to go to a full care health care facility,” said Mager Jr.
Wednesday night, church members say they are just learning about the accusations.
Genevicz was released on a $50,000 bail.
Police are now probing similar thefts involving church members.