Official for Archdiocese of Washington accused of embezzling almost $45K

A mass Friday night at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Northwest D.C. kicked off a six-week "season of healing" for the Archdiocese of Washington. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

WASHINGTON — A man who worked as the assistant superintendent of the Archdiocese of Washington has been indicted on charges connected to a yearslong scheme to embezzle nearly $45,000 from the archdiocese, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Kenneth Patrick Gaughan, 40, of D.C., was charged with mail fraud for a scheme at the archdiocese, headquartered in Hyattsville, Maryland, that stretched from at least 2010 through 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland said in a news release.

While he worked as assistant superintendent for the archdiocese, Gaughan was responsible for recruiting and communicating with contractors who were hired for their services for the archdiocese. Prosecutors said that included contractors that could help provide anti-bullying programs, crisis intervention and professional development programs at the Catholic schools overseen by the archdiocese in D.C. and Maryland.

As part of his job, Gaughan handled contractors’ invoices and passed them on with the appropriate paperwork to his higher-ups to approve. But, from at least June 2010 through April 2018, prosecutors said, Gaughan made the archdiocese pay for fraudulent invoices created for supposed anti-bullying and crisis intervention programs, and a software to send mass texts to families within the archdiocese. 

Prosecutors said that Gaughan opened bank accounts under the name of companies that were similar to the names of actual companies. He had convinced the archdiocese to pay for services that he knew the companies did not provide, prosecutors said, and even set up private mailboxes to receive the checks from the archdiocese.

Gaughan would then deposit the checks into bank accounts he controlled and used the money for his personal use, prosecutors said. Three invoices paid from September 2016 through April 2018, totaling nearly $45,000, are detailed in the indictment.

Gaughan could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of the three counts of mail fraud if convicted, prosecutors said.

Teta Alim

Teta Alim is a Digital Editor at WTOP. Teta's interest in journalism started in music and moved to digital media.

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