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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 19, 2013

Former President Of Southbury Synagogue Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison For Embezzling More Than $600,000


Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JODI CHURCHILL, 45, of Orange, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling more than $600,000 from a Southbury synagogue.  CHURCHILL was also ordered to serve six months of home confinement and perform 120 hours of community service while on supervised release.

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 $661,000 in synagogue funds.

After the embezzlement scheme was uncovered, the government seized approximately $104,000 from CHURCHILL’s bank accounts, and seized and sold, for approximately $22,000, an automobile she had purchased with synagogue funds.  The funds have been returned to the synagogue.

Judge Chatigny ordered CHURCHILL to pay restitution in the amount of $531,985.25 to the synagogue and its insurer.

On May 31, 2013, CHURCHILL waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud.

This matter was investigated by the United States Secret Service and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser. 

PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT:

U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722
thomas.carson@usdoj.gov

Component(s): 
Updated March 18, 2015