A New Jersey pastor has admitted to stealing $64,000 from his church. Monsignor Patrick Brown, who had been a long serving pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic church in Long Hill, admitted in Federal Court on Wednesday that he stole almost $64,000 from the church to pay for relatives' gifts, credit card bills and vacations to Ireland, Hawaii and Colorado.
The 59-year-old Stirling resident pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Newark to tax evasion.
He acknowledged he stole over $60,000 between 2004 and June 2009 and admitted that for the year 2005 alone his misreported his income as only his annual salary of $30,930 from the church.
As well as his work in the Long Hill parish, Brown had been a long time chaplain for the Morris County jail.
According to a release by Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, just three days after Brown started work in his parish he opened a bank account that took in funds paid by parishioners for cemetary plots and related funeral expenses.
The account remained open until October 2007 and he used the funds to buy gifts for his family and take pleasure trips to several destinations including Ireland.
Authorities say that an investigation into Brown's finances began in the summer of 2009.
Brown has since resigned from his post as pastor and has been temporarily reassigned to a Paterson parish where he will serve the poor and have no contact with finances.
Brown faces a maximum of five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
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