Joseph Quoc Hai-Nguyen admitted to taking the money from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond between 2003 and 2008. Hai-Nguyen, 66, led Our Lady of La Vang in Norfolk and Our Lady of Vietnam in Hampton, court records state.
During a court appearance, Hai-Nguyen gave the diocese a cashier's check for the full amount of the loss. He was convicted of four counts of felony embezzlement and received a suspended sentence. He will not serve time in prison as long as meets the terms of his probation.
Hai-Nguyen entered an Alford plea, not admitting guilt but acknowledging the commonwealth had enough evidence to convict him at trial. He returned from Texas, where he retired, to face the charges, court records state.
Hai-Nguyen's attorney, Robert Morecock, said his client had remorse. "He wishes he had been more careful with booking matters," Morecock said. Hai-Nguyen had no prior criminal record, he said.
Prosecutor John Dunlap said the diocese agreed with the sentence. "This is a substantial amount of restitution," he said.
Sarah Rabin, director of finance for the diocese, said the money would be returned to the two churches.