Westbury Man Charged With Stealing $360K from Church

Joaquim Canario
Joaquim Canario

A Westbury man has been indicted for allegedly stealing more than $360,000 from an Old Westbury church, where he served as treasurer over a five-year span, to fund personal expenses.

Joaquim Canario was arrested Wednesday and charged in Nassau County court with grand larceny.

Prosecutors said that the 74-year-old suspect stole $366,730 from a bank account belonging to the Seventh Day Adventist Church and spent the money on personal and non-church related matters, including mortgage payments on property he owned from April 2008 to January 2012.

Canario also wired some of the allegedly stolen money to banks in South Africa and England as payments toward a fictitious multi-million dollar inheritance for which he was informed that he was the beneficiary, authorities said.

The money was discovered missing last year during a review by the Greater New York Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, which oversees the church. A church member then referred the case to prosecutors.

Judge Philip Grella released Canario without bail. Canario is due back in court Jan. 20. He faces up to 15 years in prison, if convicted.