A former elected official in the Hudson Valley and some of her family members are facing charges for allegedly stealing more than $11,000 from a not-for-profit organization that she oversaw.
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Walsh and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced that Emily Dominguez, the former deputy mayor and trustee in the Village of Haverstraw has been indicted for allegedly stealing funds from the Rockland Community Foundation, of which she was a former president.
As part of the scheme, it is alleged that Dominguez was assisted by her mother and sister, who are also facing charges for their roles in the scam.
According to investigators, the Rockland Community Foundation oversees and administered hundreds of charitable funds, one of which, HFN, was founded by Dominguez and her mother, Luz Marina Gutierrez.
The fund was purportedly established to provide resources and support to the residents of Haverstraw through their fundraising efforts, including an annual backpack fundraiser, and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
It is alleged that between March and October 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dominguez and Gutierrez submitted 18 false receipts to the Rockland Community Foundation for alleged expenses incurred by the two.
Receipts included Portobello’s restaurant and catering, where co-conspirator Janice Dominguez was formerly employed, that were allegedly entirely false, purporting to represent food provided to residents of Haverstraw, when in fact, no such food was ever supplied.
In total, the trio stole $4,963 from Rockland Community Foundation.
Prosecutors said that in a separate scheme, Dominguez solicited charitable donations for a “Pocketbook Bingo” fundraiser in Haverstraw, during which she had the proceeds deposited directly to her personal accounts to the tune of $1,534.75.
An additional $2,525 was reported stolen from the Foundation between December 2014 and December 2017 by Dominguez and Gutierrez pocketing checks meant for the Rockland Community Foundation by inflating certain receipts from vendors.
Emily Dominguez, age 51, Gutierrez, age 84, and Janice Dominguez, age 56, all of Haverstraw, were charged with third-degree grand larceny, falsifying business records, and criminal possession of a forged instrument.
Dominguez and Gutierrez were both also charged with fourth-degree grand larceny.
"We appreciate the work of the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office to determine the extent of this fraud and identifying the alleged perpetrators,” Julie Sadowski, the Executive Director of the Rockland Community Foundation said in a statement.
“We are seeking recovery through all appropriate means,” she continued. “The Foundation will vigorously ensure that our community continues to benefit from the more than one hundred significant charitable initiatives we support, especially as the holiday season approaches.”
All three were arraigned in Rockland County Court this week and released. They are scheduled to return to court on Tuesday, Oct. 26 to respond to the charges. “Today’s arrests and indictments are the result of a multi-agency investigation that unraveled a far too common case of fraud and theft by an elected official who took money earmarked for programs that would have benefited the community,” Walsh said.
“The people of Haverstraw were cheated.”
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