RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – It took just one day of deliberation for a jury to find a former Rapid City priest guilty on all counts for stealing a quarter-million dollars from church collections.
No sentencing date has been set for 41-year old Marcin Garbacz on a total of 65 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, transporting stolen money and filing a false tax return.
Assistant U-S Attorney Benjamin Patterson told the jury during closing arguments Monday that Garbacz stole nearly $260,000 from parishes in the Rapid City Diocese, calling the scope of the scheme “astounding” and the evidence “overwhelming.”
Prosecutors say the thefts ran from July 2012 to April 2018, when Garbacz was confronted with video evidence by the bishop and another priest, then was sent out of state for counseling.
The surveillance video of Garbacz taking the money was played at his trial along with a recording of him admitting the thefts.
. Prosecutors say Garbacz spent the stolen money on expensive artwork and religious objects, a diamond ring, a grand piano, a Cadillac and other pricey items.