Garnerville Priest Charged with Stealing $25,000 from Parish

Journal News
April 1, 2011|head

Rev. Thomas Kreiser, a priest who formerly served as pastor of St. Gregory Barbarigo Roman Catholic Church in Garnerville, has been accused of stealing more than $25,000.

The Rev. Thomas Kreiser has been charged with one count of third-degree grand larceny, a felony, accused of using the church's American Express credit card for personal expenses, including online gambling, according to Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe.

The thefts occurred over a three-month period from March to June, 2010.

"This defendant, a Roman Catholic priest, embezzled thousands of dollars from St. Gregory's Church and improperly used the money for his personal benefit," Zugibe said in a statement. "His conduct represents a betrayal of the trust of his parishioners who looked to him for moral leadership and spiritual guidance."

Kreiser's thefts were uncovered during an archdiocesan review of the administration of the parish, including an audit.

Restitution in full has already been paid to the parish.

Kreiser was parochial vicar at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Scarsdale from 2004 until he left for St. Gregory's in 2008. The year after he got to the Scarsdale parish, the church had a deficit of more than $250,000 and was embroiled in controversy as a significant number of parishioners were unhappy with the pastor, the Rev. Robert Verrigni.

Verrigni was eventually transfered, but there was never any public suggestion that anyone had misappropriated funds there.


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