Boston church official who once claimed mob connection facing racketeering, extortion charges

A Boston church official who once claimed to be an associate of mobster James "Whitey" Bulger has been arrested on charges of stealing money from the church.

Federal prosecutors say Edward MacKenzie Jr. was arrested at his Weymouth home Wednesday after being indicted on charges including racketeering and extortion.

The 54-year-old MacKenzie was the director of operations at the Boston Society of the New Jerusalem Church, which is affiliated with the Swedenborgian denomination.

Federal authorities say he was appointed to the salaried position in 2003 and "began to systematically loot the church of its considerable financial assets through a combination of fraud, deceit, extortion, theft and bribery." He also allegedly threatened other members.

A home number for MacKenzie could not be found. It wasn't clear if he had a lawyer.