FBI Investigating Financial Scandal at St. Barbara’s Parish in Orange, Connecticut

Author: Theodore Kalmoukos
Date Published: 12/12/2009
Publication: The National Herald
Exterior view of the new community center of the St. Barbara church.
Exterior view of the new community center of the St. Barbara church.

BOSTON- A financial scandal has roiled the parish of St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox parish in Orange, Connecticut as potentially massive embezzlement of funds is being investigated. Preliminary examinations suggest at least one million dollars from the endowment and building funds being at stake.

The sum might be much higher – perhaps in excess of $1.8 million of the church’s money, plus monies that individual parishioners entrusted to their fellow parishioner, a financier, to be “invested”. The person who is accused of committing the embezzlement was a member of the parish and had access to its endowment and building funds.

Although the legal advisor of the parish, who spoke to The National Herald, refused to reveal the person’s name, the Connecticut newspaper “New Haven Register”, in its December 8 edition, named him as Gregory Loles.

The newspaper article stated that “Loles was in charge of managing the church’s building fund and endowment, and several church members allowed Loles to handle their personal retirement and college investments, several sources
within the church community said.”

In 1995, Loles registered a finance firm called Apeiron Capital
Management Inc. with the secretary of the state. Ads for Apeiron Capital Management listing Loles’ name and a now-defunct telephone number ran in church newsletters as late as 2007. But according to a 1997 Securities and Exchange
Commission news release, Apeiron’s broker-dealer registration with the regulatory body was canceled that year for failing to “comply with applicable requirements of the Securities Investor Protection Corp.” or failing to “be a member of a self-regulatory organization.”

The article also stated that “SEC registration is required for handling more than $25 million of total investments. A search of state databases shows no record of Loles being a certified financial planner.”

Loles is also registered with the secretary of the state as the principal of Farnbacher Loles Motor Sports, LLC., an independent repair shop that specializes in aftermarket performance upgrades to Porsches. He also is part owner of
a racing team. The business is near Danbury Municipal Airport. Farnbacher Loles Motor Sports also has a racing team that operates on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, according to the company’s website.

Fr. Peter Orfanakos, who has been the priest of the parish for 13 years, did not respond to The National Herald’s telephone calls. Neither did Nicholas Lousidis, president of the parish council. The Herald left a message with the answering service late on December 7 for Fr. Orfanakos. Instead, Mr. Stamas,
the legal advisor of the parish of St. Barbara, called TNH. Attorney Stamas and Fr. Orfanakos discovered the irregularity in the church’s funds after receiving a phone call
from a parishioner.

To the Herald’s question of who the person is who committed the embezzlement, Mr. Stamas said, “There is a gentlemen that made investments on behalf of the endowment committee and we have some serious concerns about the investments and there has been a referral to the [FBI] as of Friday morning, December 4.”

Asked about his name, Mr. Stamas said, “At this point we have [retained] another attorney who has indicated that we should be cautious with sharing names until that is cleared by the [FBI].” According to Stamas, the alleged embezzler
is not a member of the parish council, but “He is a member
of the parish.” Stamas added, “We are talking about large sums of money.”

Asked if they are in the millions, he said “Yes.” He said, “I am talking now on behalf of St. Barbara’s and we are one of many victims. The impression we are arriving at is that there are many individual claims both by parishioners and non parishioners, so the magnitude is something that we are not certain about at this point.”

Asked to be specific about the St. Barbara’s funds in question, Mr. Stamas said, “St. Barbara is concerned about its endowment fund, I c