Iris Gomez, the East Islip resident who was arrested last year for allegedly stealing more than $420,00 from St. William the Abbot Church in Seaford and over $35,000 from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, was arraigned on July 24.
Gomez, 43, is charged with grand larceny, scheme to defraud, criminal tax fraud and offering a false instrument for filing. She pleaded not guilty. Her next court date is Aug. 18. If convicted she can receive a prison sentence up to three to 15 years.
Her alleged embezzlement occurred between June 2019 and January 202, when Gomez worked as an assistant to a pastor at the church and Diocese, District Attorney officials said.
She began working at the Diocese in 2018, and a year later followed the pastor to St. William the Abbot Church. Her responsibilities entailed administrative and clerical support to multiple ministries, including reviewing and ordering vocation materials for distribution at Diocese events, and then ensuring that payments were made to outside vendors proving the Seaford church with technological improvements.
Between June and August in 2019, Gomez allegedly presented multiple invoices for payment for company called GBL Media and Designs LLC, claiming that GBL had performed printing and design work for promotional items for the Diocese.
An investigation found that the GBL invoices were fabricated and did not reflect any work done for the Diocese. The company was never hired to do the work claimed on the invoices.
Gomez was listed as the person for service of process for GBL and her home address was listed with the state as the company’s address. Checks for the fake invoices were deposited in a business checking account to which she had sole access and control, DA officials said.
She allegedly continued the identical scheme at St. William from June 2019 through January 2022. The concocted invoices appeared as if the pastor approved them.
Bank records show that 59 checks from the Seaford church totaling $427140 were deposited into GBL’s account. The church fired her in February 2022.
“Parishioners give to their local churches to strengthen their congregations and community,” Nassau DA Anne Donnelly said in a news release. “Their charitable contributions should never be used by deceitful employees to line their own pockets.”