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Priest in USA Is Said to Have Embezzled Church Funds for Mobile Games

A Pennsylvania priest is suspected of using his congregation’s credit card to buy items for mobile games like Candy Crush and Mario Kart Tour.

A Catholic priest from Pottstown, Pennsylvania has been accused of embezzlement and other related crimes for allegedly using church funds to buy in-game items for mobile games such as Candy Crush and Mario Kart Tour. The priest allegedly spent over $40,000 on these games in three years, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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The investigation started in 2022 when a church accountant found a lot of Apple transactions on the church’s credit card statements. The purchases, which started in September 2019 and ended in July 2022, were linked to an Apple ID registered to the priest.

Priest’s Confession and Denial Regarding Mobile Game Addiction and Fund Usage

According to the report, during interviews with investigators in 2022, the priest confessed to seeking help for his addiction to mobile games. He explained that the funds were not used for gambling but for purchasing items within games to enhance his gameplay.

Priest in USA Is Said to Have Embezzled Church Funds for Mobile Games (1)

The article mentions that the priest denied the accusation of deliberately using the church’s credit card for these transactions. He clarified that the cards were already connected to his accounts and phone for authorized bill payments by the church. However, he admitted the chance that he might have unintentionally utilized church funds for in-game purchases, admitting he was not meticulous with details and apologized for any oversight.

Investigation Reveals Misuse of Church Funds by Priest, Prompting Dismissal and Repayment Efforts

Besides buying mobile games, investigators discovered that an Amazon account linked to the priest used church money to buy gifts like a Fire tablet for his goddaughter, as stated in the report. The presents included a note signed “Uncle Larry.”

The church carried out an internal inquiry into the priest’s spending, leading to his removal from his position in November 2022. Following his dismissal, the priest purportedly sent an $8,000 check labeled “refunds to the congregation” to the church’s new leader, along with a letter expressing regret for his actions and his commitment to reimbursing the church for all expenses.

The priest was released after paying a $250,000 bail; according to the article, his lawyer is currently examining the charges.

Read Also: How to Avoid Addictive and Problematic Behaviors in Gaming Apps: Pennsylvania Leading the Way

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