Pastor Pleads Guilty to Larceny; Used Church Money (in Part) to Gamble Online

A former pastor of St. Gregory Barbarigo on Monday pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny, admitting he stole the parish’s funds for his personal expenses, including online gambling.

The Rev. Thomas Kreiser, 45, who had led the Garnerville parish, in New City, NY, since 2008, suddenly resigned in June 2010, citing personal reasons.

His resignation prompted an investigation, including an audit, by the Archdiocese of New York.

The Rockland County District Attorney’s Office and the Rockland County Special Investigation Unit launched their own probes.

In April, Kreiser was charged with one count of third-degree grand larceny.

This week, Kreiser pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree grand larceny before state Supreme Court Justice Charles Apotheker.

Over a three-month period, from March to June 2010, Kreiser used the church’s American Express credit card for personal expenses and various recreational pursuits, including online gambling, without the permission or authority to do so.

The total amount of the theft was about $23,000, Executive Assistant District Attorney Gary Lee Heavner said.

District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said in his statement that the money stolen by Kreiser has been returned to the parish.

“We are pleased that restitution has been made in this case,” Zugibe said.

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