For release on June 5, 2015   CONTACT:
Julie Sousa, Deputy District Attorney
Insurance Fraud Unit
(408) 792-2718   CHURCH BINGO EMBEZZLERS BUSTED
A San Jose dental office employee and two employees from a congregational church have been charged with a scheme to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The money was laundered by cashing out forged dental reimbursement checks using the church’s bingo proceeds after a pair of church officials took their cut off the top.
Nadine Marcias, 56, who self-surrendered last night, has been charged with felony employee embezzlement and check forgery. Tusameme “Sal” Sinapati Salanoa, 77, and Atonio “Tony” Leulu, 63, were also charged with forgery.
If convicted of the charges, the defendants could face up to five years in prison. Salanoa and Leulu are scheduled to be arraigned on June 11, at the Hall of Justice. Marcias will be arraigned on July 6.
Marcias, according to the evidence, was taking reimbursement checks written by insurance companies to her employer and bringing them to a local bingo hall to pay for “Flash,” or electronic bingo cards. The hall quickly stopped taking the checks.
It was then that Marcias made an arrangement with the two co-defendants – employees at the Tafatolu Congregational Church. Their deal was that Marcias would bring them the forged checks. They would cash them, take a percentage for themselves, and then give her back what was left. She then had to spend half of that remainder on their church-sponsored bingo game. 
The scheme was discovered when the dentist discovered that a series of Denti-Cal reimbursement checks were missing and had been cashed.
A District Attorney’s Office investigation discovered that Marcias had pilfered about $309,000 in checks over three years.   ###

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