How A US Catholic Priest Stole ₦55 Million From Church Money To Play Candy Crush

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Mobile games like Candy Crush can be addicting, urging players to spend more money to gain points. However, a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania USA, Reverend Lawrence Kozak has pushed his addiction too far.

Kozak used the church’s credit card for mobile games exceeding $41,000 (₦55,753,600) between September 2019 and July 2022.

The scheme came to light during a routine financial review at Kozak’s church, St. Thomas More in Pottstown. An accountant discovered a suspicious number of Apple transactions on the church credit card statements.

An investigation revealed that the Apple ID linked to these transactions belonged to Kozak. He used the funds for in-app purchases on mobile games like Candy Crush, Mario Kart Tour, Pokémon Go, and Cash Frenzy. Additionally, church funds were used to purchase items on an Amazon account linked to Kozak, such as a Fire tablet and a child’s backpack.

He has since been arrested and charged with theft and other related offences by prosecutors in Chester County. While Kozak claims the credit cards were linked to his phone for authorised church expenses, he said he wasn’t paying attention, and that potentially resulted in unintentional misuse. However, the police believe there was a deliberate disregard for proper financial practices.

In an attempt to make amends, Kozak has reportedly paid back $18,000 of the misused funds and apologised to the church.

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