Charge in $60,000 Theft from Diocese

By Denise M. Bonilla
August 26, 2004

A Mineola man who ran a firm helping the Diocese of Rockville Centre distribute money to employees for medical expenses stole $60,000 from the church, Nassau police said. The man also faces charges of pocketing money from his company's pension fund and keeping government withholdings from employee paychecks, the Nassau district attorney's office said.

William Lambiase, 72, is charged with second-degree grand larceny for taking the money out of an escrow account his Garden City company, Hagedorn Actuarial Services Inc., helped set up for the diocese, said Sgt. Lucy Guido of the Nassau Crimes Against Property Squad. He also set up another escrow account that the diocese was not aware of and moved money in and out of that account, Guido said. The money was discovered missing during an audit by the diocese, and is believed to have been taken sometime between January and April. The money has not been recovered, Guido said. Lambiase was arraigned Wednesday in First District Court in Hempstead before Judge Margaret Riley and is being held in lieu of $25,000 cash or bond bail.

After his arraignment, Lambiase was charged by the district attorney's office with two counts of third-degree grand larceny for allegedly stealing from his employees' 401(k) plans and taking government payroll withholdings from their paychecks. Lambiase wrote himself a check for the $16,000 in the plan, said Assistant District Attorney Bob Emmons, and another $17,000 in government withholdings also has gone missing. Lambiase has been a trustee of the pension fund since 1997, Emmons said, and the money was taken in September 1999. He is due to be arraigned on those charges in First District Court in Hempstead today.

Lambiase's family could not be reached for comment. If convicted of the second-degree grand larceny charge, he faces up to 15 years in prison. The third-degree charges carry sentences of up to 7 years each, Emmons said.

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