The Diocese of Jefferson City issued an alert on Thursday warning Mid-Missouri residents about a scammer who is asking for donations to build a fictitious convent or monastery.
Diocese officials were alerted by the police chief in Salisbury, Mo., about a recent case in Armstrong, Mo., in Howard County, about an hour northwest of Columbia.
The suspect is posing as a Roman Catholic priest or monk, soliciting funds. He often uses the names Ryan Scott, Abbot Ryan St. Anne Gevelinger, O.S.B., or Most Reverend & Lord Abbott Ryan (St. Anne) Gevelinger, O.S.B.
The man is not an ordained Roman Catholic priest. Similar cases have also occurred in St. Louis; LaCrosse, Wisconsin; Peoria, Illinois; Bismarck, North Dakota, and Dubuque, Iowa.
The diocese confirms the suspect does not have approval from Bishop John Gaydos to build a convent or monastery.
Anyone who encounters the man is encouraged to call local authorities.