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Former Wauwatosa priest charged with embezzlement, misses court appearances

July 14, 2014

James Dokos, a former Wauwatosa priest charged with embezzlement, is reportedly hospitalized and missed his first two scheduled appearances in court Thursday and Monday, according to state records.

Dokos, 62, is now a Chicago resident. If found guilty of spending thousands of donated dollars on personal expenses while a priest at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, he could see up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint for the case, Dokos inappropriately spent more than $110,000 from a church trust fund he was given control over between August 2008 and October 2012.

The complaint states Dokos used more than $57,000 from the fund to pay his credit card bill, and wrote several checks from the fund to himself and family members.

Taking money from the trust fund, Dokos allegedly spent $20,000 at upper-end restaurants, including regular visits to Fleming's Steakhouse in Brookfield, where he lived. He also spent $5,000 on jewelry, and thousands more on trips, high-end shopping, and bills.

Robert Stelter, who investigated the case for the Milwaukee County District attorney's office, said he spoke with several parishioners to determine that a "great deal" of the $110,000 Dokos spent outside the terms of the trust was on "clearly personal expenses."

According to the complaint, Dokos was made trustee of the account in 2008 after the deaths of both funders of the trust, Ervin and Margaret Franczak. Margaret Franczak had named him as a successor.

In 2008, Dokos made the donations Franczak had requested. Under the terms of the trust, he was to turn over the remainder of the funds for the construction and maintenance of a cultural center at the church. Dokos did give $1.1 million to the church, but allegedly kept more than $100,000 in the fund that he used for his own purposes.

According to the complaint, Dokos changed the account address from the church to his home in Brookfield, and the church stopped receiving statements on it. The embezzlement was not discovered until 2013, the complaint states, when church officials who thought the account was empty realized Dokos had used it to pay an insurance bill.

When the church asked Dokos for a copy of the trust, canceled checks and tax returns, Dokos allegedly replied, via email, in all capital letters: "I STOLE NO MONEY."

Dokos' initial court appearance was rescheduled again for 1:30 p.m. July 18. The court ordered an arrest warrant to be issued if he does not show up.

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