Published: Mar 06, 2013 4:22 PM EST

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla.- The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 62-year-old Robert Kondratick, of 11722 Tempest Harbor Loop in Venice, for embezzling more than $50,000 from church funds intended to help parishioners who have fallen on hard times.

Kondratick was employed as administrator of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church on Shamrock Blvd. Church council members contacted the Sheriff’s office at the end of January after discovering funds had been misused over a six month period from June to December 2012. Church officials fired Kondratick at that time.

Witnesses say Kondratick requested signed blank checks to pay what he said were church expenses. However, the investigation revealed he cashed 28 checks made out to “cash” or to himself, totaling $53,950. Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Kondratick who turned himself in today to face one felony count of Grand Theft.

The Orthodox Church of America relieved Kondratick of his duties as priest in 2007 following an investigation into financial misconduct while working in Syosset, New York. Criminal charges were not pursued at that time.