Pastor gambled away tens of thousands of dollars at the expense of the church

Even preachers are not immune to vice. An American priest recently confessed to wasting tens of thousands of dollars on mobile games.

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In a particular church scandal, the Rev. Lawrence Kozak, pastor of St. Thomas More Church in Pennsylvania, admitted to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars in church funds. The money flowed into microtransactions for mobile games. Especially in the popular titles Candy Crush and the mobile offshoot of Mario Kart, Mario Kart tour.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the pastor was arrested by authorities in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, on April 25. He is accused of embezzling $40,000 in church funds from his former congregation, St. Thomas More Church. Rev. Kozak resigned in November 2022. Research showed that he… “an astronomical number of Apple transactions” made with the church’s credit card. The whole thing is said to have taken place between September 2019 and July 2022. Apparently, the priest had not only used his church credit card to invest in mobile games, but also bought gifts for his goddaughter.

Pastor in the crossfire

According to the reports, the priest told investigators at the time that he used the money to gain advantage from the mobile titles he played. He emphatically emphasized that this was not gambling. Kozak added that he is already undergoing treatment for his addiction. However, he denied that he had deliberately used church money for the massive microtransactions. Instead, he claimed that St. Thomas More Church’s credit card information was already stored in his phone, causing the charge to occur automatically. The priest is said to have already transferred $10,000 to the community from his personal bank account.

After his deposition, the priest apparently sent another check for $8,000 to his old parish. In an accompanying letter, Kozak apologized to his successor and expressed his desire to pay off his debts. The priest is currently out on bail while his lawyer investigates the charges and contacts authorities.

Quelle: The Philadelphia Inquirer