Former Finance Director of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City Photo: (Jim Henderson/Wikipedia Commons)

NEW YORK – Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced that George Papadakos, the former Director of Finance of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (“GOAA”), pled guilty today to embezzling more than $60,000 of GOAA funds for personal expenses. Papadakos surrendered this morning and pled guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn. Papadakos’ case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated: “As Director of Finance of the Greek Orthodox Church, George Papadakos was supposed to serve his Church, not himself. As he admitted today, he embezzled from the Church for nearly six years. For this sin, he faces the possibility of time in a federal prison.”
USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett said: “Mr. Papadakos used his position at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to steal from the hand who employed him. Today’s plea is a reflection that Karma always comes from a higher authority and justice escapes no one.”

According to the allegations in the Information to which Papadakos pled guilty, as well as statements made in court during the plea proceeding:
Between 2012 and September 2017, Papadakos, the Director of Finance for GOAA, repeatedly embezzled from GOAA. He charged approximately $66,499 to a corporate credit card for personal expenses without GOAA’s authorization. These personal expenditures included charges for home improvements, clothing, a gym membership, iTunes, and medical bills. During the period of Papadakos’ embezzlement, GOAA was enduring financial difficulties.

Papadakos, 52, of Westfield, New Jersey, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Papadakos has agreed to both forfeiture and restitution of $66,499.

The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. Papadakos is scheduled to appear before Judge Berman on June 24, 2019, at 11:00 a.m., in part to set a schedule for Papadakos’ sentencing proceeding. Mr. Berman praised USPIS for its outstanding work on this case and noted that the investigation is ongoing.

This matter is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Neff and Michael C. McGinnis are in charge of the prosecution.

12 Comments

  1. Thanks be to God! Some justice is finally being served with hope of more to follow.

  2. I’m so glad that the S * * T has hit the fan!
    I am most certain that there are many others who have done similarly, if not wosrt!
    EVERYONE in all Divisions and Ministries at the GOA/NYC should be thoroughly investigated and scrutinized irregardless of position or title.
    Catch all of the RATS, and clean and disinfect the house of GOA/NYC once and for all.
    Enough is enough already it’s becoming tediosuly tiring.
    Up the ante!

  3. I’m sure there will be more. Hopefully this will be a lesson to everyone who serves. For the rest who stole, they should be returning the money and apologize to maybe save themselves from jail time

  4. 2012-2017 is five years is a 6 year span! No one found out this was going on? The executive director didn’t know? Not that anyone knew and didn’t do anything. But to not know??????

  5. What about all the Transparency that’s been spoken of by the Archdiocese and now new Archbishop of America? Who was responsible for the theft from the Priests Retirement Fund and of course the Saint Nicholas Shrine money’s. We’re waiting for answers. This will not go away.

  6. Of course, they knew and they probably were all involved in the cover-up. Either that, or it was a free-for-all for years. Just disgusting when our parishes are asked for more and more money and this is discovered. Let’s hope the revelations and story does not go away, thanks to The National Herald’s intrepid reporting.

  7. Considering this so called religious institution is supposedly “Christ” affliliated. I get the feeling it seems to think it is even perhaps somehow above our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the law as well.

    Doesn’t even the fear of God affect it? It is really rather simple. This institution and the people involved need to have some sort of conscience and repent for what they have done! They are entrusted with the sacred responsibility and the stewardship for the safe keeping of finances sent to the Archdiocese from the parishes.

    Justice must prevail and the parties responsible must legally pay the price for their actions. The law applies to all. No one is above the law. Neither clerics, nor laity!

    Lord help us and have mercy on us all!

  8. Embezzlement seems to be an on going ugly pattern throughout the GOA. This is not the first or only incident of it. Several other parishes have been stolen from by Greek men acting as parish treasurers. So this is not new at all. Elpi is hardly the man to clean it up. He will be too busy on the phone with Bart, the Pope of Istanbul taking orders. What a sad day for a once great church. I stopped paying stewardship a long time ago. Elpi will now have to turn to the well heeled Greeks he invited to his “enthronement” to pay the bills since the rest of us won’t be giving a dime anymore. Other treasurers of the GOA have been convicted and jailed over the last few years. It just is covered up very well by the hierarchy so as to not frighten donors.

  9. It’s a real shame, all of our metropolis and churches are affected with mismanagement of funds one way or on other. I stopped my pledge long time ago.

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