Priest Used $40k in Church Money to Fund Candy Crush Habit

  • Police in Pennsylvania arrested the priest in 2022 over the allegations
  • The authorities charged him last week for the theft of about $40,000
  • He claimed that he unknowingly used the church’s credit card
Person playing Candy Crush
A priest is facing theft charges after using more than $40,000 in church money to fund his addiction to mobile games. [Image:]

A priest who allegedly used more than $40,000 of his church’s money to fund his Candy Crush habit has officially been charged. Police in Pennsylvania arrested Reverend Lawrence Kozak in 2022 and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia removed him from his position and put him on administrative leave.

Kozak has been charged with theft and is out on $250,000 bail. The 51-year-old spent the majority of the funds on mobile games like Candy Crush.

The theft started in September 2019, shortly after the priest began working in the parish, and lasted until July 2022 when the church’s accountant noticed “an astronomical amount” of transactions on the iOS Store.

claimed that he accidentally used the church’s credit card

Kozak claimed that he accidentally used the church’s credit card, saying it was linked to his mobile device for work reasons. He also said that he was undergoing counseling for his mobile gaming addiction. He has paid off $18,000 of the debt and apologized for his transgressions.

This is not the first time that a priest has used church money to fund a habit. Another Pennsylvania clergyman took $117,000 to gamble and is facing 223 counts of theft, while an Ontario priest gambled away $1m in funds that were earmarked for refugees.

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