Ex-finance Director of UNC-CH’s Catholic Student Parish Sentenced to Prison


By Emily Brice, NC BIZ News

A Chapel Hill man was sentenced to 57 months in prison for bank fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the Justice Department.

Brain Lee Cansler, 27 of Chapel Hill, pleaded guilty to charges relating to his job of financial director of the UNC Newman Center Catholic Student Parish, a student ministry and parish located at UNC-Chapel Hill. The parish serves the UNC student body and the Chapel Hill community.

Cansler worked at the Newman Center in February 2014 to July 2016.

He pleaded guilty to bank fraud for counterfeiting UNC Student Parish checks, aggravated identity theft in violation of the then pastor of the parish on counterfeit checks and to access device fraud for misuses of the parish Bank of America card.

Casler fraudulently obtained approximately $8,000 by making two parish checks payable to himself in the amounts of $4,500 and $3,500. He forged the signature of the then pastor onto both checks and presented them for payment at PNC Bank.

Cansler also misused a Bank of America card and a PNC Bank credit card issued to the student parish for official parish-use only. Cansler was authorized to use these cards only for parish expenses; however, from October 2014 to July 2016, Cansler made over $146,000 in unauthorized purchases with the credit card.

These purchases included fine dining, clothing, travel and tech products, including trips to Disney World, Brussels, London and Las Vegas to see a Celine Dion concert. Cansler’s girlfriends posted pictures of the trips on Facebook.

In addition to his 57 months in prions, a judge sentenced Cansler to five years of supervised release and ordered him to pay over $171,000 in restitution.

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