READING, Pa. (AP) — A priest has been charged with having embezzled more than $476,000 while serving in a diocese in eastern Pennsylvania.

Berks County authorities have charged 64-year-old Richard Nachajski of York with theft, forgery and related counts while he was at St. Anthony’s of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Millmont. Investigators said he was at the parish from 1998 until March 2009, when he took a leave of absence.

The diocese of Allentown said the missing funds were discovered in a routine audit. Officials said they intend to file an insurance claim and expect to reimbursed for much of the money.

Nachajski surrendered to authorities for arraignment Wednesday and was released on $25,000 bail pending a Feb. 25 hearing.

Defense attorney Lawrence Hracho did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

(© 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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