December 20, 2023 3 min read


Priest Addicted to Gambling Accused of Stealing $117K from Church

An assistant priest at the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in Washington County, Pennsylvania, allegedly stole more than $100,000 from his parish

Problem gambling can often result in huge debts or in some cases push people to commit different crimes. Usually, such crimes are related to embezzlement, fraud or even robberies, resulting in criminal charges against those who decide to break the law. This is precisely the case of an assistant priest from Washington County, Pennsylvania, who was accused of stealing more than $100,000 from his parish.

Father George Athanasiou, an assistant priest with the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in North Strabane, was arrested late last month over allegations of theft from his church. After his arrest in November, he is facing 223 counts of theft, forgery and unlawful taking of funds. It’s important to mention that anyone charged with a crime isn’t automatically guilty and remains innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In Athanasiou’s case, allegations claim that he stole some $117,000 in funds from his parish, a recent report released by WPXI-TV reveals. Reportedly, the assistant priest was able to obtain the money through illegal cashing of checks. However, when questioned, Athanasiou admitted having a gambling problem, which sheds light on his decision to steal from his church.

On Monday, the assistant priest waived his preliminary hearing. After posting bond, he was released, and he will have to undergo a mental health evaluation. While Athanasiou’s case was with the Washington County District Attorney’s Office initially, it was reassigned to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. This move comes after it was discovered that some members of the County District Attorney’s Office were reportedly members of the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church.

The Embezzlement Continued for More than a Year

Allegedly, the assistant priest started to steal funds from his church in April 2022. Athanasiou, who was a member of the church for nearly five years, reportedly continued to embezzle funds before his arrest late last month. It is yet to be confirmed whether the assistant priest used the money to gamble at land-based casinos, engage in online gambling activities or placed wagers on sports.

People are upset, but a lot of the church people are actually supporting the father and, I’m gonna tell you right now, we’re gonna pay back all this money, every cent.

Pat Thomassey, defense attorney for Father George Athanasiou

Pat Thomassey, the attorney defending Athanasiou, said that his client disclosed to law enforcement that he had a gambling problem without going into much detail. “He had a gambling problem. He alluded to that in the statement he gave to police. And, that’s not uncommon today,” explained the attorney. Thomassey outlined that many people are frustrated with what happened but hinted at plans for restitution for this case.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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