Diocese: Michael Wawee Allegedly Defrauded Mourning Families

Posted at 8:22 PM, Feb 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-13 10:27:01-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Feb. 3, 2014) — Kent County Commissioner Michael Wawee Jr. worked at Holy Cross Cemetery for more than 20 years, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids.

He’s now in the Kent County Jail. He’s accused of embezzling from cemetery clients.

Wawee is a sales associate at the cemetery. He’s responsible for selling grave sites, facilitating marker engraving, as well as funeral services.

The Diocese owns and operates five cemeteries, including Holy Cross. Carl Apple, communications director for the Diocese,  said as soon as the allegations came out, Grand Rapids police started their investigation. The investigation took place over a period of months, he said. Wawee was placed on administrative leave without pay.

It’s not clear how much Wawee is accused of stealing, but a felony warrant said the amount was between $1,000 and $20,000. He’s also charged with false pretenses.

FOX 17 retrieved court records on Wawee. Numerous filings regarding a personal protection order (PPO)were found. His ex-wife filed the PPOs and PPO extensions in the early to mid-2000s. She claimed he was mentally, physically, and verbally abusive and that he threatened to kill her. She accused him of violating the PPO. Wawee and his ex-wife have a son together and  Wawee had parental visitations.

Wawee is due back in court for his preliminary hearing February 11.

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