Monday, July 26, 2021

Former Rapid City priest found guilty on fraud, money laundering charges

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It took just one day of deliberation for a jury to find former Rapid City priest Marcin Garbacz guilty on all counts for wire fraud, money laundering, transporting stolen money and filing a false tax return.

Garbacz admitted he stole money from St. Therese Catholic Church in 2018 after he was confronted with video evidence by the bishop and another priest. At the time, Garbacz was sent out of state for counseling.

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The jury found Garbacz guilty on all 65 charges. In his closing statement Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Patterson told the jury that they believe Garbacz stole nearly $260,000 from parishes in the Rapid City Diocese, depositing the money in his bank account, then taking that money across state lines when he moved to Missouri and didn’t declare the money on his tax return.

Patterson said, “The scheme to defraud is astounding. The evidence is overwhelming.”

Garbacz’s attorney, Jennifer Albertson, told the jury that even though they heard a recording of Garbacz admitting to thefts from St. Therese Church and saw a surveillance video of him taking money, the government didn’t prove that Garbacz stole and spent as much as the government claims.

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