George Papadakos, the former Director of Finance of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, pled guilty to embezzling more than $60,000 of Church funds for personal use.
The embezzlement is a minor component of a much larger misappropriation of millions of dollars that spiraled the Archdiocese into a financial crisis that led to the ultimate forced resignation of Archbishop Demetrios, who was largely blamed for the dire economic conditions that have led to investigations by the federal and state Attorneys General, as well as the mortgaging of the Archdiocese headquarters in New York City.
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 announced the Papadakos’ arrest.
Papadakos surrendered and pled guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn today. His case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.
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 added that “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 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, repeatedly embezzled from the Church. 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.
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, he 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 his sentencing proceeding.
The news was made public via the United States Department of Justice in a news release.