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Marcin Garbacz

Garbacz

A former Rapid City priest is now facing tax crime charges while being accused of stealing a total of $250,000 in church donations, according to a new indictment. 

Marcin Garbacz was indicted Tuesday on five new charges of making and subscribing a false tax return. His original federal indictment accused him of stealing $150,000 in cash donations from the Diocese of Rapid City. He previously pleaded not guilty to 50 counts of wire fraud, nine counts of money laundering and one count of transporting stolen money between July 2012 to April 2018.

Garbacz failed to report as income to the IRS the $235,819 in cash donations he allegedly stole between 2013-2017 from various parishes, the indictment says, and then not paying $46,008 in taxes. 

The new indictment also alleges that Garbacz stole more money each year, starting with $24,052 in 2013 and $78,265 in 2017. 

Garbacz was arrested May 10 by an IRS agent at the Seattle airport with $10,556 in cash and a one-way ticket to Poland, his home country, according to court documents. He allegedly spent the money on items such as chalices, statues, artwork and a piano. 

Church officials slowly grew suspicious over dwindling donation totals and eventually confronted Garbacz with surveillance footage that showed him stealing from a church vault, the indictment says. He was suspended from the ministry in May 2018 and sent by the diocese to a six-month treatment program in St. Louis. In October 2018, he pleaded guilty in state court to first-degree petty theft for stealing about $600 in donations. The next month, he left St. Louis before completing the treatment program and moved to Seattle against the orders of the bishop.

Garbacz is expected to be at the federal court in Rapid City for his initial appearance on the new indictment at 1:20 p.m. on July 29. 

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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