An appeals court has overturned the sentence of Akron Catholic priest Sam Ciccolini who pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2010 of banking and tax fraud charges.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinatti ruled that U.S. District Judge James Gwin didn't have the authority to order Ciccolini to make restitution of $3.5-million dollars to the Interval Brotherhood Home Foundation. But the Appeals Court stopped short of vacating the restitution order because it stated Judge Gwin had relied on it to sentence Ciccolini to a one day jail stay.
Both the prosecution and defense had filed appeals of the Judge's sentence, the prosecution claiming the jail sentence should have been much longer, while Cicollini's attorneys claimed the judge didn't have the authority to impose the restitution order.
U.S. District Court in Cleveland is in the process of scheduling a re-sentencing date.
Father Sam Ciccolini founded the Interval Brotherhood Home in Coventry Township more than 40 years ago and directed the home and an alcohol and drug treatment center.
Before his sentencing "Father Sam" as he was affectionately called by his supporters, admitted to embezzling more than $1.2 million dollars from the IBH Foundation . He paid the money back to the foundation and avoided being officially charged with stealing the money. Ciccolini drew the interest of investigators because he made more than 130 deposits of amounts just under $10,000 each to several local banks. Banks are required to report to federal authorities deposits of more than $10,000. By depositing just under that amount Ciccolini was able to avoid the reporting requirement.
Pending the outcome of his appeal Father Sam has been barred by the Cleveland Catholice Diocese from hearing confessions or publicly conducting Mass.
Attached is a summary of the Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals decision :