Pennsylvania Priest Spends $40,000 of church money on Candy Crush and Mario Kart Tour

Father Kozak allegedly also used the church's fund to purchase gifts for his goddaughter.

Pennsylvania Priest Spends $40,000 of church money on Candy Crush and Mario Kart Tour
  • A Pennsylvania priest spent over 40k of the church's money on in-app purchases
  • He claims he accidentally used the church's credit card
  • He has since repaid some of what he owes

A Catholic Priest in Pottstown, Pennsylvania is in hot water after spending more than $40,000 belonging to the church on in-app purchases for mobile games. Father Lawrence Kozak was charged with theft and other related crimes on April 23rd, 2024. He has since been released on $250,000 bail.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Father Kozak’s spending spree took place over a span of three years. In 2022, an accountant at Saint Thomas More Church found evidence of an excessive amount of transactions with the App Store.

These purchases began in September 2019, not long after Father Kozak came to the church, and ended in July 2022. Kozak was forced to leave the church in November 2022 following an internal investigation that connected Kozak to the Apple ID that made the purchases.

Bowser slamming his green kart into mario's white kart as they race on a track.

Records also show that his Amazon account used the church's credit card to purchase a child's chemistry set, a backpack, and a fire tablet, which were shipped to a home in Bensalem, PA, where the priest's goddaughter lives. A note signed "Uncle Larry" accompanied the gifts.

At one point, Kozak used $10,000 of his own funds to pay Saint Thomas More Church's credit card bill. During a 2022 interview with detectives, the priest claimed he was trying to find counselling to help him with his mobile game addiction. He also stated that he was not gambling but rather spending money on power-up items to give him an edge in Mario Kart Tour, Candy Crush and other games.

Kozak also claims that he did not intentionally use the church's credit card to make in-app purchases. Rather, he states the card was previously attached to his accounts and personal phone to allow him to pay church bills.

However, he did state he may have accidentally used the church's credit card to make in-app purchases. Since his removal from Saint Thomas, Father Kozak has sent the new priest a check for $8,000 and included a note promising to repay the church in full.

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Jack Brassell
Jack Brassell
Jack Brassell is a self-proclaimed nerd with a lifelong passion for storytelling. An aspiring author, Jack writes mostly horror and young adult fantasy. She is currently working to attain an associates degree in game design.