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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Former Los Gatos Convent Employee Charged with Embezzling More Than $100,000 from Catholic Nuns

Former Director of Food Services Embezzled Cash, Charged Personal Expenses to Convent Credit Card
U.S. Attorney’s Office
December 22, 2011

Northern District of California
(415) 436-7200
SAN JOSE, CA—A former lay employee for the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Catholic Convent (the Convent) in Los Gatos, Calif., was charged yesterday with 14 counts of wire fraud and three counts of mail fraud, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. According to the indictment, Linda Gomez (a/k/a Linda Surrett), 65, of Sunnyvale, Calif., used her administrative positions to embezzle cash and to charge personal expenses to a Convent charge card.

According to the indictment, between 1987 and 2010, Gomez worked for the Convent in various administrative capacities, including as the director of food services and the manager of an on-site convenience store. As part of her professional responsibilities, Gomez made purchases for the 75 Catholic nuns and 60 lay employees at the Convent. The Indictment charges that between March 2008 and her resignation in May 2010, Gomez used various methods to embezzle from the Convent, including obtaining fraudulent reimbursements or credits for products she falsely claimed she had purchased for the Convent and its nuns. The Indictment states that Gomez embezzled more than $100,000 from the Convent. In addition to embezzling more than $47,000 in cash, Gomez also fraudulently diverted more than $53,000 of Convent funds for personal expenses such as jewelry, high-end cutlery, purses, shoes, kitchen appliances, and numerous purchases on the QVC and Home Shopping Networks,

The defendant will be issued a summons to make an initial appearance on Jan. 10, 2012, before United States Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal. The case is assigned to United States District Court Judge Lucy Koh.

The maximum statutory penalty for wire fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and mail fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, is 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, plus restitution. Any sentence following conviction would, however, be determined by the court after considering the federal sentencing guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and would be imposed in the discretion of the court.

Please note: An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Gomez must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Fazioli is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Legal Assistant Kamille Singh. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Further Information:

Case #: CR 11-00955 LHK

Former Union Leader Admits Theft of Union Funds

BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that former union leader Ellis Woods, 61, of Clarence, N.Y., pleaded guilty to wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito, Jr., who is handling the case, stated that the defendant devised a scheme to defraud the Buffalo Educational Support Team (“BEST”). BEST is a union representing more than 900 teacher’s aides and assistants in the Buffalo school district. While working as the elected president of BEST, Woods was provided a union-issued credit card. Between November 18, 2008, and February 7, 2011, 

Woods used the union credit card to pay for personal expenses, including gambling expenses that he incurred at local area casinos. In total, Woods stole $44,987.70 in union funds.
“Union members contribute hard earned money to benefit the union as a whole, not to line the pockets of union leaders,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Our office will not tolerate such behavior and will vigorously prosecute officials in any organization who seek to take advantage of members.”
The plea is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Christopher M. Piehota.

Sentencing is scheduled for April, 19, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. in Buffalo, N.Y. 

Source: FBI whom is also responsioble for content

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