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Police investigating alleged embezzlement
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An alleged embezzlement at the Manteca-Ripon Pentecost Society (MRPS) Hall in Manteca involving $140,000 is under investigation by the Manteca Police Department.

The suspect has reportedly confessed to taking the money; however, there are lingering questions as to whether the individual will be prosecuted. The identity of the suspect is not being revealed at this time because no charges have been filed. Bulletin sources familiar with the case as well as Manteca Police Sgt. Jodie Estarziau said that MRPS officials are not sure they want to prosecute.

“But obviously we’re going with it (prosecution) because it’s a criminal act,” Estarziau said.

She did not indicate when charges will be filed, and added she did not have any further specifics about the case on Tuesday.

But these are the facts gathered so far from various sources.

MRPS officers, as well as some members of the non-profit organization, know the identity of the suspect  as the individual has confessed, but they are not revealing it to the press. 

The money was discovered missing when the renovation of the hall started and they needed the money to pay the contractor.

The money was taken over a number of years.

Money that is missing does not involve rents paid for the use of the hall for events such as weddings, anniversaries, and community events. The money that was allegedly compromised involved membership fees and proceeds from MRPS dinner-dances.

One source indicated that the charge is “only a misdemeanor” because there is only a “slight amount” involved but that “we kind of have an idea of the amount.” The same source also hinted that since there was a confession from the alleged embezzler, and that they understand that “things happen,” and they would like to respond with understanding and kindness because of the group’s devotion to the Holy Ghost.

The Manteca-Ripon Pentecost Society is the older of the two Portuguese organizations in Manteca. It was founded in 1919 and celebrated its 95th annual Holy Ghost festa in June of this year. FESM – Festa do Espiritu Santo de Manteca – was founded in 1932 and held its 82nd Holy Ghost festa this summer.

Both halls are popular venues for various community events, not counting the organizations’ Portuguese celebrations such as the festas, contas, and dinner-dance fund-raisers. MRPS is located at Grant Street between Yosemite Avenue and Center Street. Just a block away on North Main Street between Center and North streets is the FESM Hall.