A former priest with the Rapid City Diocese has been charged with federal wire fraud for allegedly stealing about $150,000 in donations between July 2012 and April 2018 and depositing the cash into his personal account at Black Hills Federal Credit Union, according to court records. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Marcin Garbacz was arrested Friday at the Seattle airport by a special agent with the IRS, records show. His arrest affidavit is permanently sealed after a federal prosecutor said that it contains information about an ongoing investigation and could lead to witness intimidation.
This is not the first time Garbacz has been accused of stealing from the diocese. He was suspended from his ministry duties in May 2018 after church officials caught him stealing and sent him to a six-month treatment program in St. Louis.
In October 2018, Garbacz pleaded guilty in state court to first-degree petty theft and received a suspended imposition of sentence — which means his record will be sealed from the public — from Judge Bernard Schuchmann.
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While Garbacz appears to have complied with his court orders, the diocese said in a newsletter that he disobeyed the bishop when he prematurely left the treatment program and moved to Seattle.
Garbacz indicated he was thinking about leaving the priesthood in a Sept. 26 letter he wrote to Schuchmann asking for the suspended imposition of sentence. He said he was considering become a nurse, social worker or counselor and having a misdemeanor on his record could prevent him from being admitted to an academic institution or obtaining a license.