WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — Michael Marrara of Niles pleaded not guilty Monday at Trumbull County Common Pleas Court in Warren to stealing nearly $100,000 from his church and had his bond set at $10,000.
A Trumbull County grand jury secretly indicted Marrara on a charge of grand theft after being accused of stealing nearly $100,000 from his parish.
Police arrested him Friday.
Several parishioners at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and pastor Fr. John-Michael Lavelle said Marrara was the head of church maintenance for more than 10 years. He also served as the head of the parish festival committee during that period.
Fr. Lavelle told WKBN 27 First News Trumbull County Bureau Chief Jeff Levkulich that he learned from the previous pastor that Marrara had misused a church-issued Sam’s Club Discover credit card by using it to buy $9,300 worth of personal items.
Lavelle said there was an agreement that Marrara would pay it back, but he only made two $300 payments. The former pastor was transferred to another parish, but informed Lavelle of the theft before he left.
Shortly after Fr. Lavelle was installed at Mount Carmel in June 2012, Marrara allegedly made another unauthorized purchase for pool supplies.