A Catholic priest in Mississippi bilked his parishioners out of thousands of dollars by claiming that he had a rare form of cancer, only to spend money donated to him on a membership for an HIV positive dating website according to a Thursday report.
“An affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, Jackson, Mississippi by Homeland Security Special Agent William G. Childers alleges that Father Lenin Vargas Gutierrez used money given to him by parishioners for what he said were cancer treatments in Canada and charitable causes in his native Mexico for his own personal expenses,” the report said. “One of these expenses was membership in a dating website for people with HIV.”
Varags was a priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Starkville before he was abruptly removed from his post after the charges were filed by by law enforcement this week. He allegedly told his clergy that he had a rare form of cancer.
“A GoFundMe account soliciting funds for this treatment was set up and raised $9,210. According to Special Agent Childers, Vargas withdrew most of the donations between March 24 and April 12, 2015. By the end of April, the priest had been given over $20,000 from different sources, including Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Macon, Michigan,” the report said.
According to a local news report, the priest would “groom” his victims by taking them out to meals, for which he would pay (and subsequently put on the church’s tab) before asking them for donations.
“After ingratiating himself, agents say he would then give the parishioner the opportunity to donate to his cause,” that report said. “One informant claimed they gave a $5,000 check to St. Joseph Parish and Vargas called them to ask if the money could be used for the orphanage, to which the informant agreed.”
In a statement, the Diocese of Jackson said:
Earlier this week the government began an investigation of the financial administration of Saint Joseph in Starkville. Saint Joseph Parish and the Diocese of Jackson are cooperating with the investigation. Pending the resolution of the investigation, Father Lenin Vargas will not engage in any public ministry, and has been removed from all pastoral and financial administration.
The continued spiritual and financial well being of St. Joseph Parish and Corpus Christi Mission is of the utmost importance, and we will continue to aid you both in sound fiscal management of all of your resources. Let us pray with trust that the Lord Jesus will shepherd us through this difficult time of upheaval and uncertainty.
Shipments of 20,000+ Fake US Driver’s Licenses From China Intercepted at Chicago Airport
For use in election fraud?
Customs authorities have intercepted more than a 1,000 individual shipments containing almost 20,000 fraudulent driver’s licenses at Chicago O’Hare Airport this year alone.
19,888 fake US driver’s licenses have been caught in smuggling busts at the airport, distributed throughout 1,513 fraudulent shipments.
Fox 5 New York is reporting that the fake ID’s are coming from mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and the UK.
“These counterfeit driver’s licenses can lead to disastrous consequences,” Customs and Border Patrol’s Ralph Piccirilli said in a statement. “Criminal organizations use these counterfeit IDs to avoid attracting attention to their illegal activities.”
Customs officials have described the fake Chinese ID’s as extremely realistic and well-made, stating that the barcode on the fake documents passes electronic verification checks.
If this many fake ID’s are coming in at one airport alone, there’s a significant possibility that many more fake documents are being smuggled into the country at other airports. It’s entirely unclear what these ID’s are being used for- most of the bars that underage college kids would enter to drink alcohol in are closed. There’s a very real possibility the Chinese-made fake ID’s could be an integral part of an election fraud operation. Even the most strict voter ID states such as Arizona accept a driver’s license as proof of voter registration and eligibility.
Customs officers stationed at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport are reporting that they’ve busted more than 2,000 fake ID’s since 2019, describing a surge in the smuggling of fake driver’s licenses.
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