Therese Iuzzolino, 45, pleaded guilty to grand larceny Tuesday for embezzling more than $180,000 from St. Mary’s Church in Roslyn Harbor, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a press release.
The theft spanned from Dec. 2011 to April 2017, Singas said. Iuzzolino, who was a bookkeeper for St. Mary’s, digitally paid for personal credit cards and created electronic check vouchers using the church’s bank account, Singas said.
The district attorneys office expects her to be sentenced to six months in jail with five years of probation.
Iuzollino, of Merrick, must also pay back the full $183,203.64, $25,000 of which must be paid at her sentencing.
The restitution will go to the Diocese of Rockville Centre, which had reimbursed St. Mary’s for the stolen funds.
“She took responsibility for her actions,” said Iuzzolino’s attorney J. Caesar Galarza. “She was in a dark place and perhaps not thinking clearly. She got some help and she decided to own and take responsibility for her actions.”
As a bookkeeper, Iuzzolino prepared checks, maintained the church’s QuickBooks ledger, reviewed invoices and reconciled bank statements.
The defendant concealed her theft by erasing deposit and withdrawal entries in church records.
She used the money to pay a jeweler, automobile dealer, gun shops, toy stores and dental fees. She also spent it on computers, fast food and entertainment.
The church’s bank called St. Mary’s about a suspicious $5,000 check paid from its bank account in May 2017, which led to the discovery of Iuzzolino’s embezzlement.
She was then fired.
“This defendant was a trusted member of the St. Mary’s Church family, but abused that trust and stole more than $180,000 from church coffers,” Singas said. “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.”
Iuzzolino is due for sentencing on April 29.