The Independent’s Indy reported that authorities detained and charged a Catholic US priest with stealing church funds totaling more than $40,000 to fuel his addiction to mobile games. Allegedly, Reverend Lawrence Kozak had been using St. Thomas More church credit card on expenses like an in-game microtransactions in Candy Crush and Mario Kart Tour. This led to his arrest at the time of the suspected offenses in 2022.
Prosecutors in Chester County, Pennsylvania, arrested the US priest. They charged him for theft and other offenses lasting for three years on April 25. In 2022, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia removed the 51-year-old from his position and placed him on administrative leave. This was after an accountant checked the finances of the church. According to the report, most of the funds were spent on the App Store.
The Philadelphia Enquirer said that the accountant discovered an astronomical amount of Apple transactions on credit card accounts connected to the church. The apple ID holder was Kozak. The purchases in question had been made continuously from 2019 until his removal in 2022.
In his police interrogation, he disclosed that he was seeking therapy. He wanted to address his addiction to gaming and gaming-related spending. Moreover, Kozak said he was using it to power up in the games he was playing rather than to gamble.
Even though Kozak said the credit cards were linked to his phone for authorized church spending, he denied using the church’s credit card on purpose. He also acknowledged the possibility that he had used them unintentionally. According to Kozak, the lack attention to detail has caused the unintentional spending. The detectives stated that he had no excuse. He admitted to not paying attention when he should have been. They expressed disappointment that he had let it get to this point.