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Businessman Faces Fraud Charges in East Greenville
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2020-06-24

            A New Hanover man is accused of defrauding an East Greenville church he helped found of more than $34,000.

            While acting as finance director and bookkeeper for the Upper Perkiomen Community Church, Robert Douglas Bishop III, 57, of Hill Road, allegedly withheld 22 rent payments – over four years – owed the church by Mario's Cafe & Pizzeria, which was renting space from the church.

            According to authorities, Bishop entered the rental payments for the business into the church ledger as received and included an image of a check. Court records identify him as the owner of the restaurant during this time.

            However, the checks were never deposited to the bank for payment. The missing amount totals $34,150, according to the police criminal complaint filed in the Red Hill court of District Judge Maureen Coggins.

            The Borough of East Greenville Police Department arrested Bishop on Monday and charged him with 22 felony counts each of forgery and theft by deception between November of 2014 and October of 2018, according to information posted on a state judicial website.

            The Facebook page for Mario's Cafe & Pizzeria, located at 258 Main St., currently lists Ginger Bishop as its owner and general manager. Robert Bishop is identified as a member of the culinary team.

            On June 15, during a conversation with the arresting officer, Robert Bishop only alluded to being careless and wanting to make immediate compensation. He requested the dates and amounts involved and said he would contact police after reviewing the information, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

            Church elders approached the East Greenville police in January after its current finance director noticed that five entries related to rental payments for Mario's Cafe & Pizzeria were entered as being received. However, no payment was noted which matched the bank statements. Confronted with the news, Bishop immediately arranged to make payment – and did after several weeks – but never supplied any explanation other than carelessness, according to the legal document.

            In light of the discovery, the elders decided to complete a review of their banking records back to 2014 – the year they purchased the building for $525,000 from Frank Granich. Church officials then approached borough police to make a formal complaint and request a former criminal investigation, according to court documents.

            Bishop currently serves on the board of directors at Faith Christian Academy (FCA) in Sellersville, according to information posted on its website. A biography lists his family as founding members of the Upper Perkiomen Community Church and him as an elder and its treasurer and business manager. Bishop is not currently identified on the leadership page on the church's website.

            John Buckley, the church's lead elder, declined to comment Tuesday afternoon on the arrest. He deferred all questions regarding Bishop to the East Greenville police.

            According to the biography on FCA's website, Bishop's professional life includes work as the vice president of a local group of companies – for almost 20 years as the lead operating executive – that includes "a large group of McDonald's restaurants in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, The Knight House and 86 West restaurants in Doylestown, and the Ramada hotel in New Hope, along with a commercial real estate investment company."

            A phone message left Tuesday afternoon for Patrick J. McMenamin Jr., a Hatfield Township lawyer listed on the judicial website as Bishop's defense attorney, was not immediately returned. A similar message left for the East Greenville church was not immediately returned.

            Bishop was arraigned Monday afternoon by Coggins, who set bail in the case at $2,500 unsecured. A preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for 11 a.m. on July 13, according to information posted on a state judicial website.


 

 

 

 

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