LAPD Arrests "Father" Erwin Mena for Fraud

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by LA1 News

The NELA Catholic community was dealt a seriously negative blow alongside other California parishes with the news on Tuesday of the arrest of “Father” Erwin Mena for fraud. His alleged deceit in Los Angeles includes misrepresentation as a priest at Saint Ignatius Parish in Highland Park and Saint Bernard Parish in Glassell Park.

The Vicar for Clergy Office for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles cannot verify the status of “Father” Erwin Mena, whose full name is shown as Erwin Arnoldo Mena Castro, and who uses any combination of those names.

Mena is alleged to have embezzled funds here, in San Bernardino, and even up in Stockton. He is said to have organized trips and performed wedding rites with parishioners at Saint Ignatius Parish and elsewhere, resulting in the embezzlement of over $15,000 from his victims.

Mena has claimed affiliation with the Diocese of San Bernardino, the Jesuits, the Salesians and the Divine Word Missionaries, among others. He has told people that he is from, or was ordained in, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and California.

He was arrested on suspicion of grand theft and committing perjury and is being charged by prosecutors with 22 felonies and 8 misdemeanors.

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