Priest sentenced in $2.7 mil. real estate scheme

Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A northern Indiana man who defrauded real estate developers and churches of more than $2.7 million while presenting himself as a priest associated with the University of Notre Dame has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Sixty-two-year-old Byron "Father Barney" Canada of Berrien Springs was sentenced Thursday in federal court in South Bend.

The South Bend Tribune reports Canada pleaded guilty in March to 24 counts including wire fraud, money laundering and criminal conspiracy.

Court documents say Canada charged developers and churches advance fees for nonexistent loans Canada said he could secure to finance their building projects.

Authorities have said Canada is an ordained Orthodox-Catholic priest, but other churches he has claimed connections with have denied his claims.