Retired priest pleads guilty in online dating scam

The retired priest's attorney say her client did not know people were being scammed.

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WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A retired Roman Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to his role in an international online dating scam.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that the Rev. Thomas Fleming reached a deal with federal authorities in which he agreed to plead guilty to one count of money laundering.

Prosecutors say the 67-year-old Fleming helped orchestrate the scheme for a person who identified himself as a serviceman overseas. Investigators say that person was using a false identity.

Women who responded to the online ads were asked to send money, which prosecutors say moved through two bank accounts belonging to Fleming.

Fleming’s attorney said her client did not know people were being scammed.

Under the agreement, Fleming faces no additional prison time beyond the three weeks he served after his arrest, and $90,000 restitution.

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Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com

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