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Catholic priest arrested for allegedly using P2.3 million of church funds on Candy Crush, other mobile games

By Dyanne Esther Briones Published Apr 30, 2024 2:07 pm

A Catholic priest from Pennsylvania is facing criminal charges after being accused of stealing money from a Chester County church.  

A criminal complaint filed by the Pennsylvania State Police alleged that Father Lawrence Kozak spent about $41,000 (~P2.3 million) using a credit card belonging to the St. Thomas More Parish.

While coding in the parish's financial records, an archdiocesan official found nearly 2,200 Apple transactions identified as "gaming" in its books from September 2019 to June 2022.

These expenses were allegedly related to mobile games such as Candy Crush Saga, Mario Kart Tour, Pokémon Go, and slot machine apps Cash Frenzy, Willy Wonka Vegas Casino Slots, and Wizard of Oz Slot Machine Game. 

According to CBS News, Kozak had already paid over $10,000 (~P576,000) toward the parish credit card balance from an account not associated with the church. 

They also reported that the priest wrote a check for $8,000 (~P461,000) to Father Thomas Kletzel, the new priest at St. Thomas More, after being removed from the parish.  

Kozak was arrested on, April 25th and is facing charges of theft by unlawful taking, failing to make required disposition of funds, and accessing an unauthorized device.