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Leading monk of Buddhist temple steals $260,000 to fuel his gambling addiction

By Mason White 1:48 PM March 18, 2016
Buddhist monk (illustration) 

By: Mahesh Sarin
The leading monk of a Buddhist temple was arrested on a charge of wire fraud after stealing thousands of dollars in order to fuel his gambling addiction, police in Tennessee said.

Now, 36-year-old Khang Nguyen Le of Lafayette, is facing a sentence of up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud.

According to the police investigation, Le was the leading monk at the Vietnamese Buddhist Association of Southeast Louisiana Inc. for four years.

During this time, Le withdrew money from his temple’s accounts and used the funds for gambling at casinos. He admitted to spending up to $10,000 playing blackjack during frequent trips to a casino in Lake Charles.

Le also admitted to withdrawing cash from an ATM at the Baton Rouge L’Auberge Casino. Police launched an investigation, after Le withdrew more than $4,000 at a time at the casino.

Le received $1,000 per month for presiding over the temple.

He was in charge of three bank accounts, and withdrew money to fund his casino trips. Le misused more than $263,000.