Foster Care Officials Indicted on Fraud Charges
(UnitedVoice.com) – The one-time CEO of Saint Francis Ministries, the largest foster care provider in Kansas, is an Episcopal priest ordained in 2014. Robert “Father Bobby” Smith and the organization’s former IT director, William Whymark, face charges for defrauding the organization of nearly $5 million.
A federal grand jury has indicted the former CEO and IT director of Saint Francis Ministries for scheming to defraud the foster care provider of at least $4.7 million in fake invoices #ksleg https://t.co/Sl91apDzvZ
— Sherman Smith (@sherman_news) November 11, 2022
On November 9, a federal grand jury returned indictments against the pair of disgraced former leaders, claiming they “conspired and engaged in a scheme to defraud St. Francis Ministries.” The investigation into the allegations goes back to 2020. As it turns out, the extent of the damage from Smith and Whymark’s tenure resonated through the organization.
The ministry discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars charged to credit cards by Smith, who wasn’t just lining his own pockets but also spiraling the foster care provider toward financial ruin. In April 2020, the priest secured a Paycheck Protection Loan for $10 million to keep the company above water. However, a budget in the tens of millions and 1,600 employees meant Saint Francis was ineligible. And that was just the beginning. A series of dubious transactions involving Whymark led to the discovery of at least $4.7 million in alleged fraud.
Together, Smith and Whymark allegedly caused a lot of financial damage and pocketed a boatload of money. In February, investigators seized approximately $700,000 in funds from Whymark. The Diocese of Chicago moved to suspend Smith from all of his duties and removed his access to any funds held by the church.
If convicted, the pair could spend up to 20 years in prison and face fines and orders to pay restitution.
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