Monk Embezzled $200K From Temple to Fuel Gambling Habit

Khang Nguyen Le pleaded guilty
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 17, 2016 8:30 PM CDT
Monk Embezzled $200K From Temple to Fuel Gambling Habit
In this photo taken Dec. 8, 2014, guests play at a roulette table in the Golden Nugget hotel and casino in Lake Charles, La.   (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, James Nielsen)

A Buddhist monk accused of embezzling more than $200,000 from his Louisiana temple to feed a casino gambling habit has pleaded guilty to fraud, the AP reports. The Advocate reports that 38-year-old Khang Nguyen Le will be sentenced June 27 after his guilty plea Thursday to one count of wire fraud. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Le served as presiding monk at the Vietnamese Buddhist Association of Southeast Louisiana Inc. in Lafayette from 2010 through October 2014. His indictment last year said he withdrew money from temple accounts and used it for gambling at casinos. In a court filing, a federal agent said Le told investigators that he spent up to $10,000 playing blackjack during frequent trips to a Lake Charles casino. (More weird crimes stories.)

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