Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Longtime conman Fred Brito was a fake Catholic priest for a few months in 2002 in USA

I recently came to know of a conman, Fred Brito of the USA, who went to the extent of being a fake priest.

The following two youtube video links of "I ( Almost) Got Away With IT" has a dramatization of Fred Brito's conman career interspersed with the real Fred Brito giving his views on it, as well as other real persons like an LAPD officer (Det. Debbie Potter, Supervisor, LAPD) who was the main person to initiate his arrest while he was doing his second fake priest role. I think these videos give a pretty good idea of how such conmen think and work.

a) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp6GTcngG5c, 34 min. 12 secs [The fake Catholic priest part starts at around 31:00 in this video].

b) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3ZfpXOXTSg, 9 min. 49 secs. [The fake Catholic priest part continues from the beginning of this video till its end].

Transcripts of parts of video b):

@ around 0:03 Father Patrick Mowrer, real Catholic priest (speaking about Brito fake priest act): He was very good at being a priest. His homilies came across (as) very beautiful, very positive messages. He spoke very well of the liturgy and dressed himself well. And so you would think right away, that's a Roman Catholic priest.

Fred Brito: So I would be doing daily mass at seven o'clock and (an) evening mass at five o'clock. I would be hearing confessions. I would be baptising people on Saturdays. I would be doing weddings on Saturdays. I would be burying people who have lost their lives. These were things that priests do. Priests are there to help heal.
...
[Ravi: The voiceover says that Brito makes a few slip-ups over time which get noticed by the seniors at the church but since he is doing a good job and is well liked, the slip-ups are excused.]
...
@ around 4:58, Det. Debbie Potter, Supervisor, LAPD: "I knew his background and he was not an ordained minister. He was not a priest. So I wondered how he got that paperwork [Ravi: paperwork claiming that he was an ordained priest, which Fred Brito had forged] and what kind of con he was upto."
...
@ around 5:32: Father Patrick Mowrer: When Fred Brito came to the parish, (right away) I was just thrilled. One, he was enthusiastic, intelligent, charismatic and so when he came, I thought I got gold here. The people embraced him with great joy, (I think with) great enthusiasm.
...
@ around 6:43: Father Patrick Mowrer: (About the day Fred Brito was arrested by US police) It was a day that everything was normal. I was downstairs in my office. He was upstairs in his room and I got a call from the diocese from the chancellor, asking me if he [Ravi: Fred Brito] is there. And, I said yes, he's right there. Well, make sure that he is not leaving. That's all I was told. We are coming over right away.

Within five minutes they came through every door. There's ... three doors in the (rectory) and they came through every single door to make sure that he was not going to get away.
...
Voice-over: One of the church staff members calls Brito telling him that there's somebody here to see him.

Fred Brito: So as I was coming downstairs, at the bottom of the stairs were two people dressed in suits and immediately I knew I was busted.

Voice-over: Brito is led out of the church in handcuffs and taken to the Phoenix county jail. Father Mowrer asks the Marshals, what is going on and gets a shocking answer: "He is not a priest".

Father Patrick Mowrer: He faked his papers and that was the end of that conversation. Then I had to prepare myself for the repurcussions of (what) that would be.

Voice-over: He is extradited back to Los Angeles where he is sentenced to eighteen months in prison for parole violation and grand larceny.

Fred Brito: It was like I didn't want to be here [Ravi: jail] but I knew that day had to come.
...
Voice-over: With Brito's extraordinary con revealed, Father Mowher and his parish are left to deal with the fallout.

Father Patrick Mowrer: The betrayal (sort-of) hit. And also the anger. How can you do this? He got into their lives and then to find out he is fake! That the wedding was not a valid wedding! So, a huge anger amongst the people for a while, a good (long) while.
...
Fred Brito: I do know that I made some mistakes in life. I certainly made them as Father Fred. But I think if you want to balance them out, I did more good as Father Fred than I did wrong.

Voice-over: Father Mowrer disagrees.

Father Patrick Mowrer: Finding out that this is not a real priest ... completely. Actually it makes it worse. As now you (have) desecrated something very sacred. So no I would say that he did more harm than (he did) good.

Fred Brito: I can now look at myself in the mirror and say, you know, that's who I am. I am what I am. And I am now accepting, after 56 years, I am accepting who I am and what I am.
--- end transcript of parts of video ---

Here's a transcript of a show on NBC in 2007 on Fred Brito, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/18300507/ns/dateline_nbc/t/ultimate-con-artist/. Search for "An immaculate deception" to get to the part of the transcript that deals with Brito's fake priest con. I have given below an extract from it dealing with the happiness a couple got from their wedding being conducted by "Father" Fred and then their anger and dismay when they realized that he was a fake priest.

Maria and Gene met Father Fred just a few weeks before they were to be married. The priest who was originally supposed to marry them became ill, so Father Fred stepped in.

Gene Doten: Here’s a man that when he gave a homily, he had so much truth to it. I mean, he says I’m not gonna put icing on the cake basically and tell you, “You guys are lovey-dovey getting married.  It’s gonna be tough. And the only way to hold that marriage together is through your faith, through god. And when the tough times hit you know you are going to need something to draw on.” And you’re just listening to this man and you’re going “Wow, he’s telling it like it is.”

Mankiewicz: So in terms of being a priest, he more than delivered.

Gene Doten: More than delivered.

“...and for Gene and Maria don’t lose sight of him because with God all things are possible.”

The Dotens say they never suspected Father Fred wasn’t a real priest even though some things about him struck them as a little odd—like the time Maria went to confession.

Maria Doten: When I came in, I had come in after my husband,  he said something about “Well, I know your last name begins with a ‘D’ and I know you’re getting married tomorrow.” So I thought that’s kind of strange, that he’s kind of playing this guessing game with me.

Mankiewicz: Because it’s supposed to be anonymous.

Maria Doten: Yeah.

And then there was the wedding ceremony.

Maria Doten: At our wedding, he actually walked down the aisle behind my maid of honor. The maid of honor is the last one to go and then the flower girls and then comes the bride.  Well before the bride came the priest (laughs)…

In Catholic ceremonies, the priest is normally waiting at the alter, but in the excitement of the day, the Doten’s didn’t notice it until they saw their wedding video.  Looking back at it now, they wish that had been the only thing wrong with Father Fred.

Maria Doten: I was depressed for like three days, crying. It was just very upsetting to me.
...
Brito: I was playing the role of a priest, but at the same time, that I was doing those baptisms and those funerals and those weddings, I knew what I was doing. But somebody had to do it.

Mankiewicz: So your argument is  “Yeah, I feel bad about it but, on the other hand, I did provide a service to those people. And they wanted a priest and I gave ‘em a priest.”

Brito: That’s true. If I were to die today, I have that to bear.  I have that ton of weight to bear, that I played with god. That’s a penalty I’ll have to pay one day.

Some people are already paying that penalty. Gene and Maria Doten returned from their honeymoon to the shocking news that Father Fred, the wonderful priest who married them, was in fact not a priest at all.

Maria Doten: So then I started crying.  It was really devastating to me.

Devastating because the Dotens are strict Catholics. And that since Father Fred was really ex-con Fred, the Eucharist or the body and blood of Christ was therefore missing from their marriage ceremony.

Mankiewicz: So you ended up doing the whole wedding all over again?

Maria Doten: Uh-huh.

Mankiewicz: At the cost of?

Gene Doten: Just redoing it, $10,000.

Mankiewicz: $10,000 because he was a fraud.

Gene Doten: Yes.

--- end extract ---

Ravi: I would like to repeat a small but very important quote of Fred Brito from the above extract. Fred Brito said, "If I were to die today, I have that to bear.  I have that ton of weight to bear, that I played with god. That’s a penalty I’ll have to pay one day."

All spiritual conmen should realize, like Brito realized, that they will have to pay a penalty one day for having played with god.

[I thank the owner of the youtube videos a) and b) mentioned above and nbcnews.com and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their websites, with the intention of educating and warning people about fake priests & spiritual conmen like Fred Brito, on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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