Church official pleads guilty in looting case

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2014 7:36 PM

BOSTON (AP) — A former Boston church official who said in an autobiography he was an enforcer for gangster James "Whitey" Bulger (BUHL'-jur) has pleaded guilty to federal charges he looted the church's assets.

Edward MacKenzie Jr. is the former director of operations at the Boston Society of the New Jerusalem Church, whose members belong to the Swedenborgian denomination.

The U.S. attorney's office says MacKenzie pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 13 counts including racketeering, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. MacKenzie is to be sentenced Jan. 23.

Prosecutors say he joined the church in 2002 and became its director of operations in 2003. They say he gradually gained control of the church's assets and cost it millions of dollars.

The church fired MacKenzie when he was arrested last year.