Police Say Priest Embezzled $400k from Church

By Barry N. Dima
|  Thursday, Nov 15, 2012  |  Updated 12:50 PM EDT
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Berks County District Attorney's Office

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Richard Nachajski, a priest at St. Anthony’s of Padua’s Roman Catholic Church in Reading, Pa., has been charged with stealing money from his church.

Authorities say that Nachajski used more than $400,000 worth of church funds for his own private use. A 2009 audit at the church calculated a total loss of $476, 093.00.

The charges come after an almost two-year process in which the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown and District Attorney Detectives investigated suspicious transactions, unaccounted funds, and an unknown bank account.

Detectives believe that Nachajski used endowments left by two deceased parishioners, which were transferred between accounts that only he knew about and had access to.

Authorities allege that Nachajski embezzled more than $325,000 in checks payable to him and various credit card institutions, $13,000 for a time-share in Mexico, and a vehicle bought for the church, which he took with him after his March 2009 leave of absence. Some of his other personal expenses, detectives claim, included travel for himself and companion(s), home improvements, insurance.

On Wednesday, Nachajski turned himself over to the Berks County District Attorney without incident.

In convicted, he faces up to 17 years in prison, a fine in excess of $40,000, and restitution.

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