A West Babylon man was sentenced Thursday to 15 days in jail for stealing more than $35,000 from the Bethpage church where he served as volunteer treasurer, prosecutors said.
Derrick Campbell, 44, also has to make full restitution and serve 5 years of probation, according to the sentence handed down by Nassau County District Court Judge Martin Massell, according to prosecutors.
Campbell has paid back $28,450 of the $35,542 he stole from the East Meadow Church of Christ in Bethpage, the Nassau County district attorney's office said in a news release.
"Campbell, who acted as the church's volunteer treasurer, forged and deposited numerous checks drawn on the church's checking account to pay for personal expenses like gas, fast food, groceries, and at least one mortgage payment," according to the release. "None of the payments were authorized by the church. Most of the checks, almost all of which were pre-signed, were purportedly issued as a loan repayment to Campbell despite no such loan existing."
His attorney, Milton Grunwald of Garden City, called Campbell "an inherently decent man" who took the money when his business as a self-employed financial consultant went downhill.
"He did it out of desperation and he realized it was wrong," Grunwald said. "He felt bad. His conscience ate at him."
It was Campbell who told the church's board of trustees that he had stolen the money and the trustees referred the case to District Attorney Kathleen Rice in August 2012, prosecutors said. He was arrested two months later and pleaded guilty in August 2013 to third-degree grand larceny, prosecutors said.
Grunwald said Campbell has worked as a cashier and "any job he could" to repay the church.