(Feb. 8, 2019) A 51-year-old woman found guilty of embezzling more than $100,000 from the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Ocean City was sentenced to 10 years in prison last Friday.
Teresa Kolacz, of Berlin, was convicted on Dec. 6, 2018 of several charges including theft of over $100,000, embezzlement and forgery, according to a release from the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s office.
She pleaded guilty to embezzlement and forgery charges on Dec. 6, but used an Alford plea for the theft charge, according to the Circuit Court of Maryland’s Case Search website. An Alford plea allows a defendant to maintain his or her innocence, but acknowledges there’s sufficient evidence for a conviction.
Kolacz stole $141,609 from the church over the course of two years, according to church financial records. The state’s attorney’s office said Kolacz would write unauthorized checks to herself and take cash that was supposed to be deposited into the church’s bank account.
Kolacz served as the church’s secretary and bookkeeper, according to the state’s attorney’s office. Church officials told police of their suspicions on May 15, 2018, and accused Kolacz of stealing from the church.
Kolacz told police she stole money donated to the church and rent received from the church’s rental properties.
Two restitution judgments were entered by the Maryland District Court: $131,609.36 in favor of Saint Georges Greek Orthodox Church of Ocean City, and $10,000 in favor of Guide One Insurance, according to the case search website. Both were entered on Feb. 1.