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Nassau DA: Former Elmont library employee pleads guilty to stealing more than $260,000

Elmont Memorial Library in June 2017.

Elmont Memorial Library in June 2017. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A former Elmont Memorial Library employee pleaded guilty to grand larceny Tuesday, acknowledging that she stole more than $260,000 from the library between 2012 and 2018, Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said.

Sheila Seward, 58, of West Babylon is expected to be sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison by Nassau County Judge Helene Gugerty when she returns to court on Nov. 16. Seward will also be required to pay $236,752.50 in restitution. 

“Sheila Seward pilfered more than a quarter-million dollars from the Elmont Memorial Library over a period of six years and used that money for college tuition and medical bills,” Singas said in a statement. “Public libraries are the cornerstones of our neighborhoods and my office will aggressively work to return this stolen money to the Elmont community.”  

Seward’s attorney, John Russo of Central Islip, did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Seward was an administrative assistant responsible for preparing the library’s payroll when she began adding additional payment, without permission from library officials and labeled as “other compensation,” to her paychecks. 

The amounts Seward added to her paycheck ranged from $39 to $6,900, increasing in time as she became more emboldened, prosecutors said. Seward stole $262,190.20 from the library from August 2012 to September 2018, according to authorities. 

Library officials became aware of the scheme in September 2018  after a review of library finances by an outside accounting firm and notified Singas’ office. Seward, who used the money for medical bills and college tuition, resigned from her job at the library in August 2018. 

Library officials did not immediately return a request for comment.

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