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D.A.: W. Babylon Man Stole $35,000 From Church

Volunteer from East Meadow Church of Christ in Bethpage church faces up to 7 years in prison.

A West Babylon resident and treasurer of a Bethpage church stole $35,000 from the congregation's coffers, using the money for gas, fast food and at least one mortgage payment, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Friday.

Derrick Campbell, 43, of West Babylon, was arrested Friday by D.A. investigators and charged with felony counts of grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted, Rice said.

He was scheduled to be arraigned later Friday in First District Court, Hempstead.

Rice said that from June 2008 to May 2011, Campbell stole roughly $35,000 from the East Meadow Church of Christ in Bethpage. Campbell, who acted as the church’s volunteer treasurer, forged and deposited numerous checks drawn on the church’s checking account to pay for personal expenses.

The expenses included gas, fast food, groceries, and at least one mortgage payment, Rice said.

None of the payments were authorized by the church. Most of checks were pre-signed and reported as a loan repayment to Campbell.

But no such loan existed and members of the church's board of trustees referred the matter to the DA’s Office last August. Campbell had admitted to church leaders that he had stolen the money, Rice said.

“Mr. Campbell was trusted with a position of responsibility in the church, but he violated the trust of every parishioner who thought that their donations were being used for the betterment of the church and its community,” Rice said. “He did everything he could to cover his tracks, but today’s arrest was inevitable when he forged that first check.”

Assistant District Attorneys Peter Mancuso and Edward Bradley of the Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau are prosecuting the case for the DA’s Office. Campbell is represented by Milton Grunwald.

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