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California priest found guilty of embezzling donations

Banner priest collar credit alphaspirit via wwwshutterstockcom cna

Credit: alphaspirit via www.shutterstock.com.

San Jose, Calif., Mar 24, 2017 / 06:38 am (CNA).- A priest in California has been found guilty of diverting $19,000 in donations to his personal account. Father Hien Minh Nguyen, 57, was found guilty on 14 counts of bank fraud by U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman of San Jose, CBS San Francisco reports. The donations, made between 2005 and 2007, had been intended for the Vietnamese Catholic Center in San Jose.

Fr. Nguyen had served as the center’s director from 2001-2011. He has also served as a pastor of St. Patrick’s Church, now called Our Lady of La Vang. The priest previously pleaded guilty to tax evasion for the years 2008-2011. He faces sentencing for all convictions on June 30. He could face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for each bank fraud account, and a maximum sentence of five years for each tax evasion count.

Fr. Nguyen has been a priest of the Diocese of San Jose since 1995. He has been on a personal leave of absence since December 2013. Fr. Nguyen was born in Vietnam and fled to the U.S. as a boy during the Vietnam War.  

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