A former Toledo church worker who said a gambling addiction led her to steal $525,000 from the parish was sentenced on Friday (Feb. 22) to two years in prison and to pay $505,777 in restitution.
U.S. District Judge James Carr also sentenced Patricia Stanz, 61, to two years of supervised release.
Stanz said a gambling addiction led the former Gesu Parish employee to steal $525,000 from the parish over a four-year period.
“This person abused the trust of her employer and the entire congregation,” said Steven Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “This sentence should send a message to those who would abuse the trust of friends, relatives or coworkers to enrich themselves.
Stanz had been the business manager of Gesu Parish, at 2049 Parkside Blvd., from August, 2007, to August, 2011. During that time, she created and signed without authorization nearly 100 checks totaling $295,000 on the church’s account, according to court records. She also fraudulently used a Gesu credit card to obtain $230,000 in cash advances and purchases, according to court documents.
She pleaded guilty in September to one count each of counterfeit securities and fraudulent use of a credit card, and faced a maximum possible sentence of 25 years in prison.
Her attorney, Andy Hart, asked the court for leniency citing, among other things, his client’s lack of a criminal history prior to the Gesu church theft.
“Ms. Stanz is a 61-year-old lifelong resident of Toledo,” Hart said in a sentencing memorandum. “After raising her two children, Ms. Stanz entered the work force. Prior to her arrest Ms. Stanz had a nearly 20-year uninterrupted work history as a business manager at private corporations and two positions with the Catholic Diocese in Toledo.”
Hart also said that Stanz “offered a complete admission” when approached by investigators and that her “cooperation and acceptance continued well past the first and very often sobering conversation with law enforcement.”
He blamed her criminal behavior on a gambling addiction, saying, “What led an otherwise law-abiding person to recently commit the criminal offense? The answer in this matter is uncharacteristically simple, a gambling addiction.”
Hart said the Toledo Catholic Diocese has been reimbursed $471,659.58 by the Cincinnati Insurance Corp., and that Stanz “could make reasonable efforts” to repay the diocese’s $34,118.48 net loss.