Former Rapid City Priest convicted on 65 Counts in theft, wire fraud and money laundering scheme
RAPID CITY, S.D. — A formerly ordained priest of the Catholic Diocese in Rapid City, South Dakota, was found guilty by a federal jury of wire fraud, nine counts of money laundering, transportation of stolen money, and making and subscribing a false tax return.
During the trial, evidence was shown that Marcin Stanislaw Garbacz, 41, while employed as a priest with the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City, arranged a plan to steal money from that was collected from parishioners from various churches.
Garbacz secretly entered the areas in three parish churches where the money was kept, and removed/replaced special tamper-proof bank bags. He made multiple same-day deposits that totaled tens of thousands of dollars of the stolen money in ATMs, all of which after midnight.
He continued to launder the money through a variety of banks, investment firms, and credit card companies.
Garbacz bought for himself over a dozen gold-plated chalices, numerous bronze statues, a $10,000 diamond ring, Mont Blanc fountain pens, and more with the stolen parishioner money that totaled over hundreds of thousands.
“The cache of worldly treasures accumulated by this common thief looks like something from Raiders of the Lost Ark,” said U.S. Attorney Parsons. “He bought it all using money he stole from his parishioners — money that was intended to help the Church and help the poor. The selfishness and greed of it all is mind-boggling.”
Special Agent Karl Stiften of the IRS Criminal Investigation division wants to remind everyone that the money is still taxable, regardless of where the money came from.
“Income is taxable, regardless of the source” Stiften said. “Special Agents are following the money to make sure everyone complies with the tax laws.”
After Garbacz found out about the federal investigation, he took out more than $50,000 from his account and bought a one-way ticket to Poland. He was arrested by federal agents at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before his plane departed in May of 2019.
A sentencing date will be scheduled at a later time.