Companies, businesses and organizations alike need trustworthy, capable individuals to handle their finances and valuable assets. But when those individuals abuse their power and use the company’s assets and money for their own personal gain, they are likely to face embezzlement charges.
This was the case for 55-year-old Jerome Dimitriou, the former executive director of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America located in New York City.
A self-serving scheme
For nearly 17 years, Dimitriou had served as executive director for the archdiocese. He began running two separate embezzlement schemes starting in 2011. Over time, Dimitriou pocketed more than $500,000 of the church’s funds.
Prosecutors have called Dimitriou out for his hypocrisy in the matter, stating that, “As the executive director of a non-profit religious organization, Jerome Dimitriou was supposed to serve the organization, not himself.”
Half a million dollars for personal use
Allegedly, Dimitriou used the diocese-issued credit card to make airline purchases for himself and his family, iTunes charges, ongoing gym membership payments and several retail expenses. These personal purchases accounted for tens of thousands of dollars in total.
Additionally, the former executive director instructed his subordinates to grant him bonus checks exceeding $500,000. Neither Dimitriou nor the subordinates had the authorization to do so.
New York penalties for embezzlement
In embezzlement cases such as Dimitriou’s, the penalties depend on the value of the stolen assets. For example, embezzling property with a value of more than $1,000 is usually a class E felony. On the other hand, property that exceeds $1 million will result in class B felony charges.
Prison time can range from three to 25 years. Dimitriou faces up to 20 years for each of his separate schemes for a total of up to 40 years in jail.
After embezzlement allegations, it’s crucial to have a lawyer by your side. Attempting to cover up any proof of a potential crime only strengthens the evidence against you. With an experienced attorney, you can build a rigorous defense to help you understand and manage any charges you may be facing.