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Catholic priest arrested after allegedly spending church funds on Candy Crush, Mario Kart

What harm could possibly come from excessive playing of ‘Candy Crush Saga’ and ‘Mario Cart Tour’? Right?

Reverend Lawrence Kozak was arrested on April 25th because of crimes related to theft and felony. In November 2022, he was vacated from his position in St. Thomas More Church in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Upon the financial investigation led by the Archdiocesan Office, they discovered a misuse of the parish funds, which Kozak was the culprit.

The archdiocese released an official statement on the incident:

“Father Lawrence Kozak was placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese in November of 2022. His administrative leave followed a review of Saint Thomas More Parish’s financial activity by the Archdiocesan Office for Parish Services and Support. That review resulted in certain expenses and expenditure levels utilizing parish funds being questioned. The Archdiocese then referred the matter to law enforcement.

Father Kozak was arrested on Thursday, April 25th and faces felony theft charges.

The Archdiocese and the parish will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as the criminal matter enters its next phase. Pending the outcome of the criminal prosecution, Father Kozak remains on administrative leave.”

The former Catholic priest reportedly stole over $40,000 funds from the church and spent it on mobile and slot machine games like ‘Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Cash Frenzy,’ and ‘Willy Wonka Vegas Casino Slots.’

In an interview with the Catholic priest, he viewed his actions as “powering up” in the games and not gambling per se. He said that he was “seeking counseling for his addiction,” and denied the allegations by reasoning that the charges only went through because the church’s credit card was logged into his device.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police detective, over 2,000 transactions labelled as “gaming” were found in his billing statement from September 2019 to June 2022. On his Apple ID, he allegedly spent $214,000 from personal savings and $44,000 was charged only to the church’s credit card. In addition, the same credit card was also used in buying gifts for the priest’s goddaughters.

It was also reported that Kozak was trying to repay the church as records showed that there was an amount of $10,000 received by the church’s account from Kozak’s personal savings. He also sent a check of $8,000 to Father Kletzel, the new priest of the church, and a letter of apology including the line of items he purchased.

“I am so sorry that I made this mistake which has been any source of stress for you. I have been paying the Credit Card since April when this all started.”

“Thank you for you patience!” He wrote at the end of the letter.

The former St. Thomas More Church priest has posted bail and was scheduled to answer for his criminal charges in Chester County Magisterial District Court.


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