Monk Given 30 Months For Gambling $263k of Temple FundsJuly 28, 2016 12:19 pm
A Buddhist monk has just been sentenced to 30 months in prison after stealing $263,463 from the temple which he presided over in order to fund his gambling addiction. Khang Nguyen Le, 36, was the president of the Buddhist association from 2010 to 2014, during which time he would regularly visit the L’Auberge Casino in Lake Charles located 74 miles, and withdraw money from the association’s bank accounts via the casino’s ATM.
During his trial, Khang Nguyen Le changed his guilty plea on two separate occasions before acknowledging his guilt. The Buddhist monk was subsequently charged with wire fraud and stealing funds, and was handed the stiff prison sentence by Judge Donald Walter, despite having no previous convictions. Le was also ordered to pay back the money, and may be extradition back to Vietnam when he completes his time behind bars.
In September 2015, Khang Nguyen Le’s past finally caught up with him after being arrested at LaGuardia airport in New York City while on a stopover to Toronto. Interestingly, federal authorities seemed to have discovered the monk’s wire fraud and embezzlement antics before his own temple, after he made a particular withdrawal of $4,280. Le then continued as president of the Buddhist association until October 2015 while the association undertook its own internal investigation.
Later admitting his crime, Khang Nguyen Le said that he had a particular attraction for blackjack, and over a three-day period would often gamble in excess of $10,000 while seated at some of the casino’s less conspicious tables. As an extract from the original court papers explain:
“Le stated that he always went to the casino alone to prevent members of the Buddhist community from knowing what he was doing. It was his practice to gamble in deserted spots in the casino to not be spotted by members of the congregation.”