An ex-church official will have to repay about $36,000 he embezzled from an East Meadow house of worship while serving probation and doing community service as his punishment, authorities said Wednesday.
Ronald Ousman, a longtime congregant and former acting treasurer of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, had pleaded guilty in January to a petty larceny charge in connection with the case.
At his sentencing Wednesday, a judge meted out a three-year probation term and ordered Ousman to do 210 hours of community service while paying back the money, authorities said.
In September, Ousman, now 39, had surrendered to Nassau prosecutors to face a grand larceny charge after an investigation that started after church officials tipped them off.
Prosecutors had alleged Ousman stole the money in a series of cash withdrawals from church bank accounts from May 2014 to May 2015.
Some of the missing money included funds that were meant to pay the pastor’s health insurance, and Holy Trinity found out the IRS never got some payments after contacting the agency to verify tax information, officials have said.
“Ron took full responsibility and he apologized to the church,” Ousman’s attorney, Scott Limmer, said Wednesday.
The Mineola attorney added that his client already had paid back more than half of the stolen money.
Ken Marten, an attorney for Holy Trinity, said church officials were satisfied with the case’s resolution following the breach of trust from a man who had served the church as a volunteer.
“They’re very happy with the punishment … They were not looking for vengeance or jail,” the Westbury lawyer said.
Marten added that the church’s insurance plan covered the loss, and Ousman will be paying back the insurance company.
District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a prepared statement Wednesday that Ousman “abused the trust bestowed upon him by the church,” and added that money he diverted into his own pockets “could have gone to worthy causes.”