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Gambling Priest Sentenced to 3 Years

A Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to more than 3 years in prison and ordered to repay $650,000 that he embezzled to fuel his video poker play at various Las Vegas casinos. Monsignor Kevin McAuliffe had admitted to embezzling parish votive candle, prayer, and gift shop funds for eight years from his northwest Las Vegas parish in order to support his video poker habit, claiming that he suffered from gambling addiction. He'd asked for probation so that he could continue to seek help for his gambling problem and to continue practicing as a priest and pay restitution to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, the parish that the money was stolen from. Prosecutors in the case, however, painted a different picture of McAuliffe, who they claim stole church funds for not just gambling purposes but to also pay for cars and travel, and who still had personal savings when he began embezzling money. McAuliffe pled guilty in October to three counts of federal mail fraud for falsifying documents sent in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in San Francisco. Each count carried a possible sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The judge sentenced McAuliffe to 37 months in jail (splitting the difference between the 33-month minimum and 41-month maximum) along with the order to repay embezzled funds. McAuliffe must also serve three years of supervised release following prison and is banned from gambling in any Las Vegas casino. McAuliffe had control from 2002 to 2010 of church activities and finances at one of the largest Roman Catholic congregations in Nevada. When first questioned by authorities, McAuliffe originally claimed that his gambling was supported by his personal income, only later confessing to stealing the funds from the church. He began repaying the parish in May and to date has paid back just over $13,000.

14-Jan-2012, 11:22


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