DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     June 23, 1999     vol. 10, no. 121

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          NEW YORK (CWNews.com) - Federal investigators and insurance regulators are investigating a charity that promised to give more $1 billion to Catholic charities worldwide after questions arose over the foundation's director and connections to failed insurance companies, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

          The St. Francis Foundation had claimed to be backed by the Vatican and include on its board such luminaries as Walter Cronkite and Chrysler Corp. chairman Lee Iacocca, but those claims appear to have been false after investigators began asking questions. Even the identity of the foundation's director is in question. Although his name is listed as David Rosse, regulators now believe he is Martin Frankel, a 44-year-old money manager who was sanction by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1992.

          Investigators said the foundation is apparently connected, although the details are still unclear, to a group of Tennessee-based insurance companies now under the control of state regulators. Those companies are missing $335 million and possibly more.

          Frankel disappeared in early May, after piles of financial documents were found burning in his Greenwich, Connecticut mansion, which was abandoned when fire fighters arrived. In an affidavit filed in federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, last month, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation said he believes that Frankel was laundering money.

          Father Peter Jacobs, a retired priest living in Rome, said he was contacted by Frankel to help distribute billions of dollars to charities, especially hospitals for the poor. A lawyer for Father Jacobs, who was suspended from the Archdiocese of New York in 1980 after he refused to stop running a restaurant, said the priest was duped by Frankel with promises that he could help many people.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

June 23, 1999       volume 10, no. 121


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