Former President Of Southbury Synagogue Admits Embezzling More Than $500,000
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JODI CHURCHILL, 45, of Orange, waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford to one count of mail fraud stemming from her embezzlement of more than $500,000 from a Southbury synagogue.
According to court documents and statements made in court, beginning in November 2010, while serving as the vice president of the Beth El Synagogue in Southbury, CHURCHILL began embezzling funds from the synagogue. In June 2011, CHURCHILL became president of the synagogue and used her new position to open a checking account and a money market account in the name of the synagogue. CHURCHILL was the only signatory on the accounts. Initially, CHURCHILL opened the accounts using the synagogue’s business address in Southbury, but in 2011, she directed the bank to change the mailing address on the accounts to her residence in Orange. Thereafter, all bank statements for accounts were mailed to CHURCHILL’s home address.
Between June 2011 and December 2011, CHURCHILL deposited bank checks totaling more than $300,000 into the accounts. The checks reflected the proceeds of certificates of deposit held by the synagogue that had matured at other financial institutions.
The investigation has revealed that CHURCHILL made more than 60 unauthorized ATM and over-the-counter withdrawals of synagogue funds in amounts ranging from $200 to $5,000. CHURCHILL used embezzled funds to pay school-related expenses for her children, expenses for leasing a horse used by one of her children, vehicle expenses, airline tickets and hotel expenses for personal travel. She also provided stolen funds to a relative.
During the course of this scheme, CHURCHILL embezzled more than $500,000 in synagogue funds.
CHURCHILL is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Robert N. Chatigny on September 5, 2013, at which time CHURCHILL faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
This matter is being investigated by the United States Secret Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.
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