Rev. John Regan, former pastor of St. Walter Parish in Roselle, pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing about $300,000 to support his gambling habit.
Regan, 47, stole the money from church collection plate offerings between 2006 and 2008. He kept the stolen funds in a separate church bank account called "St. Walter Special Needs," said DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin in a statement.
Regan would either write checks to his own personal account or spend the money from the church account directly at casino riverboats in Elgin and Joliet, Berlin said.
The scheme was discovered when bank officials noticed transactions being made in the St. Walter Parish bank account and brought their concerns to the attention of the Joliet Diocese. The Diocese contacted the State's Attorney's Office after auditing parish records.
“Today, Mr. Regan pled guilty to some very serious charges,”
The charges against Regan include thefts over $100,000 and a continuing financial crimes enterprise.
Regan will appear in court for an Aug. 16 sentencing hearing, where he faces a minimum 15 years in prison.