July 22, 2024
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US Priest Spends $40,000 Of Church Funds On Candy Crush, Arrested


US Priest Spends $40,000 Of Church Funds On Candy Crush, Arrested

The 51-year-old was removed from his position in 2022.

A Catholic priest was detained and charged with stealing more than $40,000 from the church to pay for his addiction to mobile games, as per a report in Independent’s Indy. It was suspected that Reverend Lawrence Kozak had been using the credit card of the St. Thomas More church on expenses such as in-game microtransactions in Candy Crush and Mario Kart Tour, which led to his arrest at the time of the alleged offences in 2022.

On Apil 25, prosecutors in Chester County, Pennsylvania, arrested and charged the priest for theft and other offences spanning three years. The 51-year-old was removed from his position in 2022 and placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia after an accountant checked the church’s finances. It is reported that most of the funds were spent on the App Store.

According to The Philadelphia Enquirer, the accountant discovered “an astronomical amount of Apple transactions” on credit card accounts connected to the church. Mr Kozak was the holder of the Apple ID, and the purchases in question had been made continuously from 2019 until his removal in 2022.

During his police interrogation, he disclosed that he was seeking therapy to address his addiction to gaming and gaming-related spending. Additionally, he said that he was using it to “power up” in the games he was playing rather than to gamble.

Although Mr Kozak said the credit cards were linked to his phone for authorised church expenditures, he denied using the church’s credit cards on purpose and acknowledged the possibility that he had used them unintentionally. According to him, the unintentional spending resulted from a lack of attention to detail. The detectives said that he had “no excuse, except that he wasn’t paying attention and should have been” and was “disappointed that he had let it get to this point.”

To settle some of the credit card debt, Mr Kozak has used $10,000 of his funds. He has apologised to the church and given them an additional $8,000 since his arrest.



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