Former Los Gatos Convent Employee Pleads Guilty To Embezzling From Catholic Nuns
SAN JOSE, Calif. – A former employee for the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Catholic Convent (the Convent) in Los Gatos, Calif., pled guilty in federal court this morning to 14 counts of wire fraud and three counts of mail fraud, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.
In pleading guilty, Linda Gomez (a/k/a Linda Surrett), 66, formerly of Sunnyvale, Calif., admitted that she 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 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.
Gomez was charged in an indictment filed in San Jose federal district court on Dec. 22, 2011. There is no plea agreement in the case. Gomez pled guilty to all 17 counts of wire and mail fraud charged in the indictment.
The sentencing of Gomez is scheduled for March 28, 2013 at 10 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge D. Lowell Jensen in San Jose. 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.
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.