By David DeKok
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - A Catholic monsignor will plead guilty to embezzling over a half-million dollars from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia over nine years to pay gambling debts, buy concert tickets and enjoy expensive meals, his lawyer and authorities said Thursday.
Monsignor William Dombrow, 77, was rector of Villa Saint Joseph, a retirement home for aged and infirm priests in Darby, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia.
“He accepts full responsibility and has cooperated with authorities from the beginning,” said his lawyer, Coley Reynolds. “He is ashamed and remorseful, and hopes he can someday redeem himself in the eyes of the archdiocese and parishioners.”
Dombrow waived preliminary arraignment on four counts of wire fraud and is expected to have a guilty plea hearing later this month, said Michele Mucellin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney.
Dombrow had sole control of a Villa Saint Joseph bank account used to deposit bequests and life insurance proceeds intended to benefit the home, court documents said.
Prosecutors say the monsignor stole $535,258 between 2007 and 2016. Last year the bank became suspicious and alerted the archdiocese.
Church officials froze the account and notified law enforcement, said Ken Gavin, a spokesman for the archdiocese. The church suspended Dombrow as an administrator at Villa Saint Joseph and as a priest, he said.
Dombrow faces a statutory maximum of 80 years in prison on the charges, but would likely receive far less under sentencing guidelines. His lawyer would not say how long of a sentence they expect him to receive.
(Editing by Frank McGurty and Lisa Shumaker)