A former executive director of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has been accused of embezzlement in New York. The accusations date back to 2011 and accuse the now 55-year-old man of gaining more than $500,000 in church funds.

It is alleged that the former executive director was the initiator of two embezzlement schemes that saw him charge huge amounts of personal expenses to his credit card issued by the diocese. In addition to this, he allegedly demanded that subordinates pay him bonuses without gaining legitimate authorization. These bonus checks amounted to around $500,000.

The defendant, who resides in Greenlawn, New Jersey, is thought to have spent the allegedly embezzled funds on frivolous expenses such as plane tickets, iTunes purchases and a gym membership, as well as many other items.

The prosecution stated that the defendant had the duty to serve the organization, not himself. In contrast, the defense attorney stated that that defendant had dedicated his life to the church.

The case closely echoes that of a former financial officer at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, who was sentenced to jail for pilfering almost $70,000 from the organization. He was sentenced less than one month ago.

Embezzlement is an extremely serious crime that is sadly a common problem in a wide range of organizations. Those found guilty of embezzlement can face up to 20 years in jail for the offense. It’s not unheard of for people to be falsely accused of embezzlement. If you need to defend yourself against an accusation of embezzlement, you must act swiftly to build a compelling defense.