Livin’ on a Prayer… and Stolen Parishioner Donations

A former ordained priest in South Dakota, Marcin Stanislaw Garbacz, faces up to 65 years in prison and penalties totaling $1,250,000 for wire fraud, money laundering, transportation of stolen money and five counts of making and subscribing a false tax return.

While employed as a priest with the Catholic Diocese in Rapid City, Garbacz stole money collected from parishioners at various church services. He entered the churches late in the evening, removed and replaced special tamper proof bank bags and made multiple same day deposits totaling tens of thousands of dollars through ATMs well after midnight. Garbacz laundered the money through a variety of banks, credit card companies and investment firms.

Garbacz spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase over a dozen gold plated chalices, numerous bronze statues, Mont Blanc pens and a $10,000 ring.

“The cache of world treasures accumulated by this common thief looks like something from Raiders of the Lost Ark,” said US Attorney Ron Parsons.

Once he realized he was being investigated, Garbacz emptied his bank account of more than $50,000 and bought a one-way ticket to Poland. He was arrested at the  Seattle-Tacoma airport.

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