MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Freeport man has been arrested and charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a Long Island church.
Gennaro Festa is accused of taking $116,760 from Mineola’s Grace International Assembly of God. According to a press release from Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, the church gave Festa’s company the money in 2014 for demolition work and the construction of a new sanctuary at the site.
Instead of using the church’s funds to pay his steel manufacturer, the 72-year-old allegedly used the money to cover daily expenses like food and gas.
“Contractors who disregard the law will be held accountable for their crimes,” DA Singas said Wednesday.
Festa was reportedly a member of a sister church and was given the job in Mineola without a thorough background check, CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported.
Festa allegedly presented the church with more than 12 certificates that stated he had bought the steel, though none of them proved to be true, Nassau County authorities said.
He has been charged with second-degree grand larceny and scheming to defraud. He is due back in court on Sept. 21.