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NEW CITY – Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Walsh and State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced that Emily Dominguez, former deputy mayor and village trustee of the Village of Haverstraw, has been indicted and arrested for allegedly stealing more than $11,000 in funds and donations from the Rockland Community Foundation (RCF), a not-for-profit organization that Dominguez oversaw as a board member and former president. She was aided by her mother and sister who were also indicted and arrested.
The Rockland Community Foundation oversees and administers hundreds of charitable funds in Rockland County. One such fund is the HFN, founded by Emily Dominguez and her mother Luz Marina Gutierrez. The fund was purportedly established to provide resources and support to the residents of Haverstraw through their fundraising efforts, including an annual backpack fundraiser, and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Between March and October of 2020, the defendants submitted eighteen (18) false receipts to the Rockland Community Foundation for reimbursement for expenses allegedly incurred by Emily Dominguez and Luz Marina Gutierrez. The receipts, from Portobello’s restaurant and catering, where Janice Dominguez was formerly employed, were entirely false, purporting to represent food provided to residents of Haverstraw, when in fact, no such food was ever supplied. In total, defendant’s stole $4,963.00 from Rockland Community Foundation.
In August of 2019, Emily Dominguez held a Pocketbook Bingo fundraiser in Haverstraw under the guise of raising money for the HNF Backpack program. Those wishing to attend the fundraiser could pay for their ticket via PayPal, cash, or check. Rather than utilizing the Rockland Community Foundation PayPal account to receive these funds, Emily Dominguez had the donated funds deposited directly into her own pay PayPal account, and thereafter transferred the funds to her savings account.
In addition, three checks for the Pocketbook Bingo fundraiser were deposited directly into one of Emily Dominguez’s bank accounts. In total, $1,534.75 in donations were diverted by Emily Dominguez, and were never provided, as required, to the Rockland Community Foundation.
Between August of 2017 and August of 2019, defendants Emily Dominguez and Luz Marina Gutierrez submitted false and inflated receipts to the Rockland Community Foundation for reimbursement of expenses allegedly incurred by them. Emily Dominguez obtained inflated receipts from the vendor, far more than actual expenses. Those receipts were submitted by Emily Dominguez and Luz Marina Gutierrez for reimbursement, and the defendants thereby stole $2,525.00 from the Rockland Community Foundation.
From December 2014 through December 2017, numerous donations checks, meant for the Haverstraw Neighborhood Fund, which should have been turned over to the Rockland Community Foundation, were instead diverted and deposited into bank accounts belonging to Emily Dominguez. The funds, which should have gone directly to the Rockland Community Foundation, were never transferred to RCF for proper distribution. In total, $2,425.00 in donations were stolen by Emily Dominguez in this manner.
“We appreciate the work of the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office to determine the extent of this fraud and identifying the alleged perpetrators. We are seeking recovery through all appropriate means. The Foundation will vigorously ensure that our community continues to benefit from the more than one hundred significant charitable initiatives we support, especially as the holiday season approaches,” said Julie Sadowski, Executive Director of the Rockland Community Foundation.
The indictment and arrests follow an investigation by the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit and the New York State Comptroller’s Office, in conjunction and with the Rockland Community Foundation. The case is being prosecuted by Executive Assistant District Attorney Tina Guccione and Senior Assistant District Attorney Jacob Sher. The 35 count indictment alleges the following charges:
• Emily Dominguez, 51, of Haverstraw, NY, Grand Larceny 3rd (felony), Falsifying Business Records 1st (felony), Grand Larceny 4th (felony), Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument 3rd (misdemeanor).
• Luz Marina Gutierrez, 84, of Haverstraw, NY, Grand Larceny 3rd (felony), Falsifying Business Records 1st (felony), Grand Larceny 4th (felony), Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument 3rd (misdemeanor).
• Janice Dominguez, 56 , of Haverstraw, NY, Grand Larceny 3rd (felony), Falsifying Business Records 1st (felony), Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument 3rd (misdemeanor).
“Today’s arrests and indictments are the result of a multi-agency investigation that unraveled a far to common case of fraud and theft by an elected official who took money earmarked for programs that would have benefited the community. The people of Haverstraw were cheated. I commend the hard work of investigators and prosecutors of the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Comptroller’s Office”, said Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh.” I want to thank the Rockland Community Fund for their assistance.”
“It’s always disappointing when a public official is accused of abusing the public’s trust, particularly when they are expected to act in the best interest of their community,” DiNapoli said. “My thanks to Rockland County District Attorney Walsh for his partnership in rooting out fraud.”
All three defendants were arraigned before the Honorable David S. Zuckerman in Rockland County Court today. They were released on their own recognizance. They are scheduled to return to court on October 26, 2021.
Any person who may have any additional information about this incident or any other incident can send an anonymous tip by downloading the RocklandCO DA Tip 411 app (available in the APP store or Google Play). You can also text the keyword ROCKLANDCODA to 847411, type in your tip information and hit send.