A former Elmont Memorial Library was arraigned on Nov. 12 on grand larceny charges for allegedly stealing more than $260,000 from the library over six years.
According to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Sheila Seward, 58, of West Babylon, stole a total of $262,190.20 from the Elmont Memorial Library between August 2012 and September 2018, while she was working as an administrative assistant for the library. In that role, Singas said, Seward prepared the payroll and therefore had access to the library’s finances. Beginning in August 2012, she said, Seward allegedly began to add excess payments labeled as “other compensation” to her paychecks.
The amounts she allegedly added to her checks ranged from $39 to $6,900, and increased over time. In total, Singas reported, Seward allegedly added money to her paychecks more than 100 times, and used it to fund medical bills and college tuition. She resigned from her position at the library in August 2018.
Elmont Library officials caught on to her alleged scheme one month later, after they conducted a review of the library’s financial statements, and reported the case to the District Attorney’s Office.
“We were obviously shocked to learn of all the alleged illegal activities taking place within our library system,” said Livingstone Young, the president of the Elmont Library board. He added that the board has been “fully cooperating” with the District Attorney’s Office and “will continue to do so until this legal matter has been resolved.”
The Elmont library has taken steps to protect it from further thefts. In a news release, library officials wrote that it has hired a library director and a personnel clerk, changed insurance carriers and increased coverage for employee theft. Additionally, it reads, the library has since automated its payroll system, and is now receiving payroll warrants directly from the payroll company.
Assistant District Attorney Heather Kalachman is prosecuting the case, and Nassau County Legal Aid is representing Seward.
Seward is charged with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree falsifying business records and official misconduct. She was released, and is due back in court on Dec. 4. If convicted, she faces five to 15 years in prison.