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Bookkeeper pleads guilty to embezzling church funds, Nassau DA says

Therese Iuzzolino stole more than $180,000 from St. Mary's Church in Roslyn Harbor by using money from the church's online bank account to pay her own credit card bills, prosecutors said.

Therese Iuzzolino, 45, pleaded guilty Tuesday to grand

Therese Iuzzolino, 45, pleaded guilty Tuesday to grand larceny. Photo Credit: NCDA

A former part-time bookkeeper for a Roslyn Harbor church has admitted in court that she embezzled more $180,000 from her employer over five years, according to the Nassau County district attorney’s office.

Therese Iuzzolino, 45, of Merrick, stole $183,203.64 from St. Mary’s Church in Roslyn Harbor by using money from the church’s online bank account to pay her own credit card bills, prosecutors said. They said Iuzzolino also created several electronic check vouchers.

The theft occurred between December 2011 and April 2017, prosecutors said. To hide the theft, Iuzzolino falsified various church records by deleting deposit and withdrawal entries, they said. The crime was discovered in May 2017 after the bank called the church about a suspicious $5,000 check drawn on its account.

Prosecutors said Iuzzolino used the money to pay a jeweler, an automobile dealer, toy stores and gun shops and to finance dental expenses, computers, fast food, and entertainment.

“Stealing from a house of worship is an especially contemptible act and I am grateful to St. Mary’s for their cooperation during this case,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a news release Wednesday.

Iuzzolino, who pleaded guilty Tuesday to third-degree grand larceny in Nassau County Court in Mineola, is expected to be sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation on April 29. She also will be required to pay restitution of $25,000 at sentencing and continue paying restitution as a special condition of her probation, the district attorney's office said.

The church has been fully reimbursed by the Diocese of Rockville Centre, so all restitution funds will be paid to the diocese.

“My client has some personal issues which resulted in her being in a dark place,” said Iuzzolino’s attorney Cesar Galarza of Massapequa Park. “She has subsequently sought help and she decided to take responsibility for her actions.”

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