A former employee at the Elmont Memorial Library manipulated payroll records there for the last seven years and stole more than $260,000, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said Wednesday.
Now, Sheila Seward, 58, of West Babylon, is facing 5 to 15 years in prison if convicted, charged with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree falsifying business records and official misconduct.
"Libraries provide important educational and social resources to the public, and anyone caught stealing from them will be held to account," Singas said in a statement released Wednesday.
According to the district attorney's office, between August 2012 and September 2018, Seward, working as an administrative assistant, stole $262,190.20 from the library.
In her role, Seward prepared payroll, giving her access to the library's finances and, Singas said, she took advantage of that — adding "excess payments labeled as 'other compensation' to her paychecks" beginning in August 2012. The amounts added ranged from $39 to $6,900, increasing over time "as she became more emboldened in her theft," the district attorney's office said in the news release. In total, Singas said, Seward added money to her checks more than 100 times.
That money was used for medical bills and college tuition, Singas said.
The alleged scheme was discovered during a review by an outside accounting firm and was reported to the district attorney's office in September 2018, the same month Seward resigned her position.
Seward was arraigned Tuesday before Judge Paul Meli in First District Court in Hempstead and was released on her own recognizance. She is next scheduled to appear Dec. 4. Records show she was represented by a Legal Aid attorney.