67-year-old Robert Genevicz, the minister of the Stratford Baptist Church for the past 18 years, turned himself in to Stratford police yesterday when he learned police would charge him with stealing over $170,000 from an elderly church member, who turned over control of her finances to him five years ago.
“The investigation began about ten month ago and, based on the results of the investigation, the pastor was charged with first-degree larceny,” said Stratford Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour.
A probate court appointed Milford attorney Joseph Mager conservator of the 72 year old woman’s estate in April 2013 when inconsistencies surfaced in Genevicz’s accounting of the woman’s financial records. Soon after, a forensic accountant became involved.
“The accountant determined that there was in excess of $130,000 that had been misappropriated or could not be accounted for,” said Mager, who added that he met with Genevicz several times during the transition.
“He was the friendliest guy you would want to meet,” said Mager. “He always had a smile on his face.”
Mager, who noted his client suffers from dementia, says Genevicz has reimbursed $37,600 to the woman’s account.
Bridgeport and Trumbull police are also investigating claims that the Pastor and an ex-convict, Doraine Reed, of Bridgeport, have been involved in stealing money from other elderly people.
Stratford police say Genevicz told them he paid Reed, whom he met after she was released from prison, $110,000. Reed denied this claim today.
“I wish I could see it because my lights was turned off last weekend for a couple of days,” said Reed.