Greek police say a man who posed for years as a novice monk has been identified as a fugitive civil servant sentenced to three life terms in prison for fraud.

A police statement Tuesday said the 48-year-old was arrested in Karyes, administrative center of Mount Athos, the 1,000-year-old Greek Orthodox monastic community. His name was not released, in conformance to police practice.

Police said the man, formerly an accountant in an eastern Athens municipality, was convicted in absentia in 2011 of involvement in embezzling 9 million euros, fraud and forgery. For the past eight years, police say the man lived in a string of remote retreats and cells on Mount Athos, passing himself off as a novice monk.