German Priest Blows Parish Cash in Online Lottery Scam

A Catholic priest in Germany, lured by a get-rich-quick Internet scam, has admitted to embezzling a small fortune from his parish, a diocese spokeswoman said Monday.

The preacher in the central Harz Mountains region confessed to his congregants at this week's Sunday mass that he had skimmed 120,000 euros ($137,000 dollars) from church funds.

"I let myself get snared by crooks on the internet" who were running a bogus lottery, the 64-year-old clergyman said. "They convinced me to transfer money to them several times."

The spokeswoman said the priest had turned himself in to the police and his bishop, Gerhard Feige.

He is to pay back the total sum he stole and lost and "accept the consequences of the state and the Church," Feige said Sunday.

The bishop stripped the priest, whose name was not released, of his post on the parish board in the town of Ballenstedt and said he would take further disciplinary measures.

But it was not immediately clear whether the priest would lose his job -- a decision that will be taken by the parish after the bishop makes his recommendation.

Source: Agence France Presse

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