A Bayside man pleaded guilty Wednesday in Nassau County District Court to stealing more than $35,000 from Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in East Meadow, starting in May 2014 and continuing on for a year.
Ronald Ousman, 38, the church’s former acting treasurer, was charged with petty larceny, a misdemeanor, and will make full restitution, the Nassau County district attorney’s office said.
Ousman will be sentenced March 30 and is expected to receive three years of probation and 210 hours of community service, the DA’s office said.
Ousman’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
Kenneth Marten, an lawyer hired by the church to represent it in this case, said its leaders and congregants were pleased with the outcome of the case.
Marten said they didn’t seek a felony conviction and hope that Ousman, a longtime congregant, gets the help he needs.
Marten said the crime was discovered when critical bills went unpaid.
“That was the big tip-off, when the pastor’s health care was being canceled,” he said.
Church officials confronted Ousman directly and he took full responsibility, the lawyer said.
Authorities say Ousman stole the funds by making a series of cash withdrawals from the church’s checking and money market accounts.
“The defendant was given access to the church’s finances because he was a trusted member of the community, but he abused that trust,” DA Singas said. “Thankfully, church officials noticed the discrepancies and contacted our office, and we were able to get the money back for this faith community.”
Singas’ office said the investigation began when church officials contacted the Internal Revenue Service to verify certain tax information. The IRS told church leaders it hadn’t received some payments.
The DA’s office began its investigation in May.