Stanley Law Group (Dallas, TX) filed a class action lawsuit today in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island against United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for misleadingly soliciting millions of dollars in charitable donations that were diverted into private investments.
The lawsuit alleges that USCCB routinely asks Catholics throughout the country to donate money to the annual Peter’s Pence collection to “help victims of war, oppression, natural disaster, or disease,” but the money actually goes into funds which invest in such ventures as luxury condominium developments and Hollywood movies. Plaintiff David O’Connell claims USCCB is liable under theories of common law fraud, unjust enrichment, and breach of fiduciary duty.
USCCB is composed of all active and retired members of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States. It promotes, oversees, and administers coordinated charitable donation efforts throughout the country, including the Peter’s Pence collection.
Lead attorney Marc R. Stanley said, “It’s regrettable and tragic that such a trusted and well-respected organization has been taking advantage of the generosity of Catholic donors. USCCB must come clean and give back the money it took from well-intentioned people who thought they were giving urgently-needed funds to help the destitute around the world.”
Stanley Law Group is a Dallas-based law firm that focuses on complex litigation. It also has an office in San Diego. Stanley is a past president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.
Individuals who made donations to the United States Peter’s Pence collection since January 1, 2013 are encouraged to indicate their interest in joining the lawsuit by visiting PetersPenceClassAction.com.