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Former Vero Beach Church Official Arrested on Fraud Charge

Vero Beach Holy Cross Church and True.jpg
Vero Beach Police Department
69 year old Deborah True, and now deceased Father Richard Murphy, are accused using $1.5M of church donations for their personnel benefit
Deborah True.jpg
Vero Beach Police Department
Deborah True

Vero Beach - Wednesday September 21, 2022: Following the conclusion of a nine-month fraud investigation the Vero Beach Police Department has arrested 69 year old
Deborah True on one count of Organized Fraud over $50,000.

True is the former parish administrator of the Holy Cross Catholic Church at 500 Iris Lane in Vero Beach. She turned herself in at the Indian River County Jail on Monday and has since been bonded out. She is now awaiting trial.

A release from the Vero Beach Police Department states that True and the former pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church, Father Richard Murphy, opened a bank account in the name of “Holy Cross Catholic Church” in 2012. That account was "hidden from the Catholic diocese of Palm Beach."

Bank records show that since 2015 nearly $1.5 million of parishioner donations were fraudulently deposited into that account.

From 2015 until 2020, "True used over $500,000 of those funds to pay off personal lines of credit", states the release. An additional $147,000 was withdrawn from the account and deposited into Deborah True’s personal checking account.

The investigation revealed that former Pastor Father Richard Murphy also personally benefited from the funds in the account. Father Richard Murphy passed away in 2020 and, therefore, no criminal investigation was opened against Father Richard Murphy.

The case was brought to the attention of the Vero Beach Police Department in December of last year when officials from the Diocese of Palm Beach contacted them about the fraudulent bank account and possible misappropriation of funds.