An Annapolis woman has been accused of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from a West River church over two years as its director of operations, Anne Arundel Police said.
In late February, county police were contacted by the Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church in West River, whose current leadership was concerned about a large theft from its church funds and payroll.
After reviewing financial statements and audits — and discovering nearly $65,000 was stolen — police charged Marie Simeone, 72, with embezzlement and two felony theft counts. Combined, the charges carry a maximum of 25 years in prison.
A criminal summons was issued March 3, according to Maryland court records, and has not yet been served. The Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday it has tried serving Simeone twice at her listed address, but do not believe she is there.
Attempts by The Capital to contact Simeone were unsuccessful. The Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church declined to comment.
According to charging documents, a review of bank statements from August 2020 to December 2022 revealed $52,262 of church funds had been misappropriated from a business credit card.
Simeone, who quit in December, was in charge of the card as the church’s director of operations. Police said neither the church nor the Archdioceses of Baltimore gave her permission to use the card outside of her work responsibilities.
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However, while employed, the director allegedly used the card to make personal purchases at several businesses, including Amazon, Home Depot, Best Buy and HomeGoods. And bank statements showed magazine subscriptions, restaurant outings, streaming services, cell phone and utility bills were paid off monthly using church funds, according to charging documents.
Additionally, the card was used to make purchases in Texas and New Orleans while Simeone reported being on vacation there.
After she quit, an audit was performed of the church’s payroll, which the former director was also responsible for.
Police were provided documents that showed Simeone had issued herself checks for “severance” and “unused vacation days” before leaving. However, church leaders told police she wasn’t due severance because she quit on her own terms and between the Texas and New Orleans trips, she had used all of her vacation time.
In total, the checks amounted to $12,156.91 of payroll fraud, police said.
Combined with the credit card statement, the former director is accused of stealing $64,418.91.