A California man, who was previously convicted of impersonating a Roman Catholic priest and swindling parishioners out of thousands of dollars, was sentenced to 264 days in jail Friday after he was caught impersonating a priest again while on probation.
Erwin Mena, 60, had previously been convicted in February in connection with his scheme to impersonate a priest and sell “bogus trips” to see Pope Francis for his own profit and had been released from prison in July, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LAPD arrested Mena again on November 2 after he was caught posing as a priest in the Arts District of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Frederick N. Wapner sentenced Mena to 264 days in Los Angeles County Jail for violating the terms of his probation and ordered that, upon his release, he be barred from coming within 100 feet of any facility owned by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
“You can’t go into a church and pretend you’re a priest,” Wapner said to Mena. “That’s what you got convicted for and when you got out, you did the same thing.”
Mena’s public defender, Denise Daniels, argued against the judge’s order upon his release from prison because Mena was being followed by news reporters, and he “could unknowingly violate the terms of the order,” according to the LA Times.
“You could be walking next to a Catholic archdiocese location and not even know it,” Daniels said.
The judge rejected the request, in addition to a request for Mena to spend a week out of jail to get his personal affairs in order, saying he doesn’t “trust him.”