Priest arrested after spending $40,000 of church funds on Candy Crush

Priest arrested after spending $40,000 of church funds on Candy Crush
Former priest arrested after spending $40,000 of church funds on Candy Crush

A Catholic priest has been arrested and officially charged with stealing over $40,000 of church funds to fuel his addiction to mobile games.

The alleged crimes of Reverend Lawrence Kozak were discovered in 2022, he was arrested at the time due to suspicion of him using the St. Thomas More church's credit card to rack up over $40,000 in expenses.

Subsequently, the 51-year-old was removed from his position at the church and placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Last Thursday, April 25, 2024, Kozak was officially charged with theft and other related crimes.

Reports from The Philadelphia Enquirer, claim the misappropriated funds were spent on in-app purchases for mobile games such as Candy Crush and Mario Kart Tour. Other purchases were made, but the majority of the funds were sent via the App Store.

The investigation said that an accountant working for the church discovered "an astronomical amount of Apple transactions" linked to the parish credit card. The discovery was made during an inspection of the church's finances. The spending reportedly bean in September 2019 and only ended once Kozak was caught in July 2022.

Initially, Kozak denied that he made the purchases with the church credit card intentionally. He said the card was linked to his phone for authorised church payments on software and streaming services.

The accidental spending came from a lack of detail orientation, according to Kozak. Detectives relayed that he was "disappointed that he had let it get to this point” and he had “no excuse, except that he wasn’t paying attention and should have been.”

Kozak has used $10,000 of his own money to pay a portion of the credit card debt. Since his arrest, he has also paid another $8,000 to the church as well as an apology.

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