Former Priest Who Embezzled $1 Mil to Fund Double Life Charged with Larceny

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According to an affidavit filed with the Connecticut Superior Court, a Catholic priest in Connecticut has been charged with first-degree larceny after using over $1 million of church money to bankroll an extravagant secret life.

Father Kevin Gray, 64, allegedly used funds from the coffers of Waterbury’s Sacred Heart Church to pay for swanky hotels, lavish meals, vacations and an apartment in Manhattan, as well as designer clothes from Barney’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Armani.

Additionally, he allegedly purchased the services of male escorts, paying for one to go to Harvard University and giving others credit cards in their name on his account.

Weirui Zhong told police that Gray had not only paid the rent on his New York apartment, but had also paid his Harvard tuition since 2008 and bought him dogs and a piano. According to Zhong, Gray explained the checks from Sacred Heart Church by saying that he had won substantial attorney’s fees from court cases, and had placed his savings in the church’s account.

Another man, Islagar Labrada, is said to have charged over $49,000 on a credit card given to him by Gray—buying anti-aging creams, bicycles, computers, cell phones, artwork, a home alarm system, a trip to Buena Vista, Florida, storage facilities and gym membership fees totaling nearly $9,000.

The affidavit says that over a seven-year period, Gray spent approximately $205,000 at expensive restaurants, $132,000 at hotels including the Waldorf Astoria, Omni Berkshire, W Hotel Times Square and others, and $85,000 on clothing. His official salary during that time amounted to only $184,000, or just under $27,000 annually.

Gray is charged with having embezzled nearly $1.3 million from the Sacred Heart Church. He also allowed communications company Wireless Capital Partners to install a wireless antenna inside the church—against church policy—netting himself another $221,000.

Gray’s fraud was uncovered when the Archdiocese of Hartford conducted a routine audit of Sacred Heart’s finances and found accounting discrepancies which raised red flags. He is said to have perpetrated the scheme because of anger over being transferred to a parish in New Hartford while his mother was dying in New Haven.

“Mr. Gray stated that when he started in 2003, he began taking the money because he felt the Church owed it to him,” read the affidavit.

The former priest is also said to have lied to Zhong and to his parishioners, saying that he was suffering from cancer.

 

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