NEW YORK – Jerry Dimitriou, former Executive Director of Administration of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, who was arrested on November 25 on charges of embezzlement and misuse of Archdiocese credit cards for personal use and expenses, is free on $150,000 bail. Dimitriou was in charge of the administrative and financial affairs for 17 years before he was fired in 2017. He appeared before a Judge in New York on Monday, November 25.
Excerpts from the press release of Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York follow:
“Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Ruth M. Mendonca, the Assistant Inspector in Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), announced the arrest on wire fraud charges.
“Specifically, Dimitriou is charged with committing two embezzlement schemes: In one, he allegedly embezzled more than $488,000 from Organization-1 by directing subordinates to issue him unauthorized excess salary payments; in the other, he allegedly charged hundreds of personal expenses to his Organization-1 credit card, without authorization, costing Organization-1 at least tens of thousands of dollars. Dimitriou will be presented today in federal court in the Southern District of New York before United States Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger.
“U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated: “As the executive director of a non-profit religious organization, Jerome Dimitriou was supposed to serve the organization, not himself. As alleged, over several years, he abused his leadership position and embezzled over half a million dollars through two different schemes. This Office is committed to protecting non-profit organizations from those who allegedly steal rather than serve.”
USPIS Assistant Inspector in Charge Ruth M. Mendonca said: “Mr. Dimitriou allegedly used his position of trust at a religious organization to steal from his employer. His undoing came when Postal Inspectors used their trusted and sworn law enforcement position to bring him to justice.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today:
“From in or around 2000 until late 2017, Jerome Dimitriou was the executive director of Organization-1. While serving as executive director, Dimitriou engaged in at least two separate, long-running embezzlement schemes. One of his fraud schemes involved his unauthorized use of an Organization-1 credit card to pay for at least hundreds of personal expenses. For instance, from in or around May 2011 through in or around September 2017, Dimitriou charged the following to his Organization-1 credit card: at least approximately 204 charges for airline travel with his family (who were not employed by Organization-1); at least approximately 552 iTunes charges; at least approximately 71 charges for a gym membership at David Barton Gym; and at least approximately 44 retail charges, including at such stores as Sears, Home Depot, CVS, Duane Reade, Walgreens, and Vitamin Shoppe. The value of the airline travel with his family, for instance, was at least approximately $61,286.20.
“Another of Dimitriou’s fraud schemes involved directing subordinates to issue him excess salary and paychecks, over many years, without the authorization or approval of Organization-1. During just 2013 through September 2017, for instance, the total value of these excess salary and paychecks was at least approximately $488,290. During the period of Dimitriou’s embezzlement schemes, Organization-1 was enduring financial difficulties, a fact of which DIMITRIOU was well aware.
“Dimitriou, 55, of Greenlawn, New York, is charged with two counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
In a statement issued by the Archdiocese it stated among other things that the “GOARCH is committed to full transparency with its faithful and with governmental authorities, and will continue to cooperate fully with them with respect to Mr. Dimitriou’s arrest.”
Dimitriou’s arrest received wide publicity in the American media including the Associated Press, which reported that “assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Neff said the amount of money the government alleges Dimitriou embezzled from the church was expected to rise, ‘perhaps significantly, as the investigation proceeds. He also said the 3½ years in prison federal sentencing guidelines would recommend if Dimitriou eventually pleaded guilty would only rise as the amount of money alleged to have been stolen grows.”
Neff said Dimitriou had considerable assets and the means to flee, if he chose to do so.
There was solid documentation for the fraud, he said, because Dimitriou left behind a paper trail that includes financial and corporate records along with emails confirming illegal expenditures.
It was, the prosecutor said, “a straightforward scam and a highly profitable one.”
Nathaniel Z. Marmur, Dimitriou’s lawyer, said his client worked at the church for a total of 30 years, his most recent tenure ending in 2017.
Dimitriou, who now works as a consultant, looks forward to fighting the charges, he said.
“Jerry has dedicated his entire life to the church, and we look forward to all the facts coming to light,” Marmur said.”
It is reminded here that Jerry Dimitriou resigned after the revelations of The National Herald in September of 2017 about the dire financial condition of the Archdiocese which was discovered first by the then-treasurer of the Archdiocesan Council, prominent businessman Michael Psaros, who was the one who brought about administrative purges and reforms in the finances of the Archdiocese and set up new internal rules and regulations.
The National Herald revealed on February 4, 2018 that “TNH has learned that allegedly, Dimitriou was taking ‘significant and unprecedented irregularities’ regarding payroll and was using the credit card of the Archdiocese, specifically American Express, to pay personal expenses including family vacations. Dimitriou didn’t respond to TNH’s request for comment…TNH had also reported that “Archbishop Demetrios insisted on giving him (Jerry Dimitriou) a severance payment of $300,000 despite the Archdiocese’s dire financial situation and despite objections from Archdiocesan officials.”
Then-Archbishop Demetrios of America continually insisted that he didn’t know anything about the actions and decisions of Jerry Dimitriou in the financial realm, even after Dimitriou sent him a letter which TNH revealed on January 25 of 2018 alleging that the Archbishop knew everything. Dimitriou wrote in his letter to Demetrios, “you were aware, you did make decisions, you knew the facts of what we were doing and where our Archdiocese was headed. You are the Archbishop and you are responsible for these decisions; many of which are documented in letters and memos.”
Jerry Dimitriou was the second former high ranking Archdiocesan official that has recently been arrested and charged. The first was George Papadakos. Sources are telling TNH that others will follow.