The scandal involving Bishop Vernon Ashe began when he was treated for colon cancer and discovered his health insurance had lapsed. An audit of his finances revealed that this close friend and assistant had embezzled most of his money and had not been making his mortgage and car payments.
When his home was foreclosed, he lost many of his items of value after failing to pay a storage fee. He then rented a car from a rental agency but was arrested when he failed to return it on time and was sentenced to eight months in prison.
Ashe, who was the presiding archbishop of the Mar Thoma Orthodox Church, passed away in January 2014. After his death, reports alleging Ashe had been arrested for cocaine possession in 2004 began to circulate, accompanied by an alleged mugshot. Some church members claim that Ashe had also become addicted to oxycontin while being treated for cancer.