Zangrilli waives hearing

MIFFLINTOWN – The 59-year-old former bookkeeper for Saint Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Mifflintown who allegedly stole more than $248,000 from the church, waived her right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

Mary M. Zangrilli, is alleged to have taken the money over a seven-year period, beginning in 2005.

Zangrilli is represented by Steven Manbeck, and she remains free on $250,000 unsecured bail. Zangrilli also waived her formal arraignment scheduled to take place on Feb. 5, in the Juniata Court of Common Pleas.

Both a private investigator and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation, which lead to the finding of more than 300 questionable checks made out to “cash” or to Zangrilli from the church’s bank account with the Juniata Valley Bank. The first check was dated Dec. 25, 2005.

Zangrilli was confronted by investigators and admitted to converting the funds for her own personal use, which included two cruises, police said.

In addition, it was discovered Zangrilli had been taking cash from the church. Zangrilli stated she took cash every week from Dec. 26, 2005 until Nov. 20, 2012 and this included the church’s tithe fund.

Investigators also looked into 88 suspicious checks in the Saint Jude Capital Campaign account at First National Bank. Again, these checks were also made out to Zangrilli or “cash.”

Zangrilli told investigators she initially took the money to help with personal and medical expenses, because her husband had lost his job and she and her husband are both disabled. Zangrilli claimed she initially intended to replace the money and as time went on and she had not been caught, taking the money became “an addiction,” according to court documents.

The investigation concluded Zangrilli had a minimum of $2,000 a month from a source other than her legitimate income from Social Security and a pension. All told, Zangrilli is alleged to have stolen $248,176.93 from the church, police said.