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3 Accused In Embezzling Scheme Involving Bingo At San Jose Church

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Three people have been charged for an alleged embezzlement scheme involving at a San Jose church that went on for years.

Investigators said the theft went undetected between 2011 and 2014. According to prosecutors, Nadine Marcias stole more than 360 insurance checks from her boss, a dentist, and cashed them at Tofatolu Congregational Church in East San Jose.

"Ms. Marcias was embezzling insurance checks from her employer. Turning it around and cashing them out at a bingo hall," Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Julie Sousa told KPIX 5.

The bingo hall and the church that ran it never caught on. Investigators said Macias had inside help. Church treasurer Sal Salanoa and secretary Tony Leulu are the alleged inside men. Both have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of forgery.

"The checks would be cashed in exchange for a 'tip' to the employee cashing the check. And then a requirement on her part to support the bingo hall or church fundraiser," Sousa said.

Prosecutors said Marcias, Salanoa and Leulu pocketed more than $300,000 in stolen insurance checks before Marcias' boss, a dentist with a thriving practice, began to grow suspicious.

"He began to inquire with the insurance companies, 'Did you send me the check for this? And if not, when can I receive it? That's when he learned that those checks had been paid and that they had been cashed out," Sousa said.

According to the criminal complaint, Marcias eventually confessed, helping investigators follow the money on the copious paper trail she had left behind.

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