Former village official robbed Rockland nonprofits: DA
Emily Dominguez, former deputy mayor and administrator of the village of Haverstraw, is accused of stealing more than $ 11,000 in funds and donations from the Rockland Community Foundation, a non-profit organization Dominguez oversaw as a council member directors and former president.
She was helped by her mother and sister; all three have been charged and arrested, Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Walsh and State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said on Tuesday.
The Rockland Community Foundation oversees and administers hundreds of charitable funds in Rockland County. One of these funds is the Haverstraw Neighborhood Fund, founded by Dominguez and his mother Luz Marina Gutierrez.
The fund was purportedly created to provide resources and support to residents of Haverstraw through their fundraising efforts, including an annual fundraiser for backpacks and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Between March and October 2020, prosecutors said, the defendants submitted 18 bogus receipts to the Rockland Community Foundation for reimbursement of expenses allegedly incurred by Dominguez and Gutierrez. Receipts from the restaurant and catering in Portobello, where Janice Dominguez was previously employed, were entirely false, claiming to represent the food provided to residents of Haverstraw, when in fact no such food was ever provided. In total, they stole $ 4,963.00 from the Rockland Community Foundation, prosecutors said.
In August 2019, Dominguez hosted a Pocketbook Bingo fundraiser in Haverstraw under the pretext of raising funds for the HNF Backpack program. Those wishing to attend the fundraiser could pay for their ticket via PayPal, cash or check. Rather than using the Rockland Community Foundation’s PayPal account to receive these funds, Dominguez had the donated funds deposited directly into his own PayPal account and then transferred the funds to his savings account, prosecutors said.
In addition, prosecutors said, three checks for the Pocketbook Bingo fundraiser were deposited directly into one of Dominguez’s bank accounts. In total, $ 1,534.75 in donations were diverted by Dominguez, and were never returned, as required, to the Rockland Community Foundation.
Between August 2017 and August 2019, Dominguez and Marina Gutierrez submitted false and inflated receipts to the Rockland Community Foundation for reimbursement of expenses they allegedly incurred, prosecutors said. Dominguez got inflated receipts from the seller, far more than the actual expenses. They stole $ 2,525.00 from the Rockland Community Foundation, prosecutors said.
From December 2014 to December 2017, numerous donation checks, destined for the Haverstraw Neighborhood Fund, which should have been given to the Rockland Community Foundation, were instead diverted and deposited into bank accounts belonging to Dominguez, prosecutors said. The funds, which should have gone directly to the Rockland Community Foundation, were never transferred to RCF for proper distribution. A total of $ 2,425.00 in donations was stolen by Dominguez in this manner.
The indictment and arrests followed an investigation by the Special Investigations Unit of the Rockland County Attorney’s Office and the New York State Comptroller’s Office, in conjunction with and with the Rockland Community Foundation.
“We appreciate the work of the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office to determine the extent of this fraud and identify the alleged perpetrators. We seek to recover by all appropriate means. The Foundation will vigorously ensure that our community continues to benefit from over a hundred important charitable initiatives that we support, especially as the holiday season approaches, ”said Julie Sadowski, Executive Director of the foundation.
The 35-count indictment alleges the following charges:
- Emily Dominguez, 51, from Haverstraw, NY, Grand Larceny 3rd (crime), Falsifying Business Records 1st (crime), Grand Larceny 4th (crime), Criminal possession of a counterfeit instrument 3rd (misdemeanor).
- Luz Marina Gutierrez, 84, from Haverstraw, NY, Grand Larceny 3rd (crime), Falsifying Business Records 1st (crime), Grand Larceny 4th (crime), Criminal possession of a counterfeit instrument 3rd (misdemeanor).
- Janice Dominguez, 56, from Haverstraw, NY, Grand Larceny 3rd (crime), Falsifying Business Records 1st (crime), Criminal possession of a counterfeit instrument 3rd (misdemeanor).
“Today’s arrests and charges are the result of a multi-agency investigation that unraveled an all-too-common case of fraud and theft by an elected official who took money intended for programs that would have benefited the community. The people of Haverstraw have been cheated. I salute the hard work of the investigators and attorneys in the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Comptroller’s Office, ”Walsh said.
The three accused were brought to trial before the Honorable David S. Zuckerman in Rockland County
Court Tuesday. They were released on their own accord. They are expected to return to court on October 26.
“It is always disappointing when a public official is accused of having abused the public trust, especially when he is supposed to act in the best interests of his community,” said DiNapoli.
Anyone who may have additional information about this incident or any other incident can send an anonymous tip by downloading the RocklandCO DA Tip 411 app (available in the APP store or Google Play). You can also send the keyword ROCKLANDCODA by SMS to 847411, enter your tip information and click send.
The case is being pursued by Executive Assistant District Attorney Tina Guccione and Senior Assistant District Attorney Jacob Sher.