BOSTON — The director of the Church on the Hill, located on Bowdoin Street across from the State House, was arrested Wednesday morning, with federal authorities charging him with attempting to “systematically loot” the church of its assets.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, Edward MacKenzie Jr., 54, of Weymouth, is accused of using fraud, deceit, extortion, theft and bribery as director of operations for the Boston Society of the New Jerusalem Church, a position he has held since 2003.
Federal prosecutors also allege that MacKenzie intimidated and threatened church employees by providing them with signed copies of his autobiography, “Street Soldier,” in which he admitted to a “lengthy criminal history.”
The Department of Justice further charges MacKenzie and co-conspirators with voting to provide themselves with vehicles, cash awards for family members, and tuition grants for family members, as well as soliciting bribes and kickbacks from commercial vendors.
On May 2, special IRS and FBI agents were on location at the Swedenborgian Church on the Hill, moving in and out of the property.