Gambling Priest receives 3-Year Sentence

January 14, 2012 | by admin | posted in news

Father Kevin McAuliffe was certainly no saint when he embezzled $650,000 from his Las Vegas parish in order to use it at casinos. And the court didn’t view him as pious either when they sentenced McAuliffe to three years in prison for his crimes. In addition to this, the gambling priest will also have to repay the $650k that he stole from the church.

McAuliffe took money from prayer and gift shop funds for an eight-year period before people started to notice that the finances weren’t adding up. Eventually, the number errors were reported to the FBI, who had met with the priest to discuss the missing money. Based on inconsistencies in McAuliffe’s story, federal prosecutors decided to try the gambling priest on charges of embezzlement.

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Eventually, the 59-year-old came clean and said that he stole the money to feed his gambling habit. He lost all of the stolen cash at Las Vegas casinos over the past several years. During his trial, Kevin McAuliffe tried to use the defense that he couldn’t control his gambling addiction and needed help.

However, the judge didn’t buy any of this, and told Father Kevin the following during sentencing, “You abused a position of trust, Mr. McAuliffe. You betrayed people who depended on you.” Before the sentence was handed out, the prosecution also pointed out that the priest was stealing church funds to gamble with long before dipping into his personal savings; this was quite damaging to his reputation.

Despite a tarnished reputation, plenty of supporters showed up to the trial in support of McAuliffe. Regina Hauck, who attended McAuliffe’s services for years, talked about what a wonderful man he was by saying, “I know him. He’s a wonderful priest. But I think he’s a sick man, and everyone makes a mistake.” Unfortunately, the court didn’t side with her opinion, and that of others too.

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