HIGHLAND PARK — Police today arrested an alleged con man who posed as a priest at a Highland Park Catholic church where he alleged defrauded parishioners by selling fake trips to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia last year, the L.A. Times reports.
Erwin Mena was arrested today in Elysian Park. He was charged with fraud and impersonating a priest at St. Ignatius of Loyola on Monte Vista Street. But Mena has apparently impersonated priests at other Catholic churches since the 1990s, according to the L.A. Times and Fox 11 News.
The 59-year-old man allegedly defrauded parishioners of about $15,000 at St. Ignatius and other churches, according to Fox 11.
In a statement, the LAPD said:
Over the course of several years, Mena visited multiple Catholic Parishes throughout the Los Angeles Area and portrayed himself as a Catholic Priest. Mena officiated church ceremonies and solicited donations on behalf of the church(s), but kept the money for himself.
Mena was tracked and arrested in the 1400 block of North Academy Road near the L.A Police Academy.
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