UPPER DUBLIN – A man from East Naritan, a former Catholic school principal, has to answer allegations in a Montgomery County court that he wasted more than $ 25,000 in school funds.
56-year-old John C. McGrath of the Brownstone Drive unit refused to hold a preliminary hearing before District Court Judge Patricia A. Zafaran on charges of making money from illegal activities, theft by illegal possession, theft by deception, use of stolen property and relentless falsification by the authorities in connection with alleged incidents that occurred between May 2020 and October 2021, when he was the principal of the Regional Catholic School of Our Lady of Mercy in Maple Glen.
McGrath, who remains at large on bail, awaits a formal hearing on the charges in the district court on June 8, after which the judge will set a date for the trial.
The case is being handled by Assistant District Attorney Tanner Beck, captain of the District Attorney’s Department for Combating Economic and Major Crimes. McGrath is represented by attorney Thomas S. Egan III.
The investigation began on November 4, 2021, when representatives of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia told Upper Dublin Police that they had found evidence that could indicate the theft of school supplies “for a significant period of time,” according to a statement of arrest. Upper Dublin Detective Christian Fiedler.
School officials told detectives that McGrath had access to three school credit cards and that a review of credit card statements “identified many transactions that were unwarranted and therefore considered fraudulent,” Fiedler said in a criminal complaint.
A follow-up investigation by Upper Dublin detectives found that McGrath allegedly used school credit cards for unauthorized payments totaling $ 25,436.54 for personal expenses. Detectives allege that McGrath used the Venmo money program to complete some fraudulent transactions.
The unauthorized transactions included 11 charges totaling $ 12,777 for five rent payments at his East Noritan residence, a visit to a doctor and payment for a nail salon, according to a criminal case.
Detectives allege McGrath used a school credit card for 76 other transactions totaling $ 7,905.29 for personal expenses, including fees for restaurants, bars, Door Dash, Uber, hotel accommodation and shopping on Amazon for clothing and household items. , some of which were donated to the teacher. at school.
In addition, the fee from the school credit card included $ 3,554.10 for a non-existent conference in Washington, DC, in particular the cost of hotel and restaurant accommodation during the vacation McGrath took with a relative and teacher in July 2021, according to criminal complaint. School officials said they had suspicions about the trip because there was no registration fee on the conference account, and officials later learned that there was no such conference, according to court documents.
In mid-2020, according to a criminal complaint, 63 families sent a total of $ 1,200 to McGrath’s Venmo account during the COVID-19 pandemic to purchase OLM Strong T-shirts, but that money was never transferred to the school’s coffers.
“These records show that funds from families who purchased the T-shirts were transferred to other payment instruments in John McGrath’s Venmo account,” Fiedler wrote in his arrest warrant.
Asked by detectives whether the deal with the T-shirts was believed to have taken place, McGrath replied, “I can’t remember,” according to court documents.