Catholic World News

Canadian priest suspended after gambling away $500,000 raised for refugees

March 29, 2016

A Chaldean Catholic priest in Ontario has been suspended from ministry after admitting that he stole funds that had been raised to help new immigrants.

Father Amer Saka, who was serving a parish in London, Ontario, reportedly told Bishop Emanuel Shaleta of Hamilton that he had misappropriated $500,000 from a fund being raised to help refugees from Iraq. The priest lost the money while gambling, he said.

Police in Ontario had been investigating reports that the funds were being misused. The loss of $500,000 has forced the Hamilton diocese to take on the financial responsibility for some immigrant families who have already arrived in the country. 

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  • Posted by: 1Jn416 - Mar. 29, 2016 1:38 PM ET USA

    Two thoughts come to mind. Are criminal charges forthcoming? And will financial controls be put into place to prevent this from occurring in the future? A single person alone should not be able to withdrawn hundreds of thousands of dollars; a simple dual signature requirement could have prevented this theft and the ruin of a vocation.