Monk gets prison for stealing from temple to gamble

Lafayette, La. — A Buddhist monk has been sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $260,000 from the Louisiana temple he led and gambling most of the money at a casino.

U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley’s office said in a statement Monday that a federal judge also ordered 36-year-old Khang Nguyen Le to pay nearly $264,000 in restitution.

Le pleaded guilty in March to one count of wire fraud, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Le served as president and presiding monk of the Vietnamese Buddhist Association of Southwest Louisiana’s Lafayette temple. A court filing said he withdrew cash from the temple’s accounts to fund his frequent gambling trips to L’Auberge Casino in Lake Charles.