Priest accused of stealing $535,000 from retirement home bank account

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A Roman Catholic priest who was responsible for overseeing an Archdiocese of Philadelphia retirement home bank account was charged with four counts of wire fraud on Wednesday for allegedly diverting more than $535,000 for his personal use.

The man's attorney told McKnight's Senior Living that he is “deeply and sincerely remorseful.”

Monsignor William Dombrow, 77, faces a maximum of 80 years in prison, possible fines and up to three years of supervised release if found guilty of all charges, according to the U.S. District Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Dombrow is on administrative leave from his position as rector of Villa Saint Joseph, a Darby, PA, retirement home, according to the U.S. District Attorney's Office. The Villa provides housing and nursing care to retired and infirm priests, an archdiocese spokesman told McKnight's Senior Living. Dombrow lived there as well.

In his position, according to court documents, Dombrow had sole access to a bank account funded by gifts from wills and life insurance proceeds that were intended for the archdiocese. He inappropriately withdrew a total of approximately $535,258.11 in funds from December 2007 through May 2016, the documents allege.

Kenneth A. Gavin, director of communications for the archdiocese, said that the archdiocese was alerted to irregularities related to the bank account last summer.

“Upon review of information supplied by the bank, this account was immediately frozen,” he said. “At that time, the matter was referred to law enforcement by the archdiocese, and Monsignor William Dombrow's priestly faculties as well as his administrative responsibilities were restricted. Throughout the investigation, the archdiocese has cooperated fully with law enforcement.”

Coley O. Reynolds of the Omnis Law Group, who is representing Dombrow, said his client is working with authorities, too.

“Monsignor Dombrow is ashamed to have shed such a bad light on the archdiocese,” Reynolds said. “He has cooperated fully with the investigation and will continue to do so in the future. Monsignor Dombrow has spent his life serving the church and God. He has helped a great many people deal with serious addictions and other problems. He hopes to someday redeem himself.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. District Attorney's Office said that Dombrow's next court appearance will be a May 4 plea hearing.

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