LOS GATOS (CBS SF) — A former lay employee of a Roman Catholic convent in Los Gatos has been indicted in federal court in San Jose on charges that she embezzled $100,000 from the organization.

Linda Gomez, 65, of Sunnyvale, worked for the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Catholic Convent from 1987 to 2010 in several administrative positions, including a stint as food services director.

She was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday on 14 counts of wire fraud and three counts of mail fraud related to allegedly deceitful transactions carried out between 2007 and 2009.

Gomez, who is also known as Linda Surrett, was summoned to appear before a federal magistrate in San Jose on Jan. 10.

The convent houses 75 nuns and has 60 lay employees, according to the indictment. The nuns provide services in religious education, family counseling and aid to people who are elderly, poor or ill.

The indictment alleges that Gomez embezzled $47,000 in cash and an additional $53,000 in the form of personal items such as jewelry and kitchen appliances that she fraudulently bought for her own use.

Gomez allegedly used several techniques to embezzle funds, including submitting false expense reports, canceling purchases and then diverting refunds to herself, and having items bought with a convent credit card shipped to a family member’s address, according to the indictment.

Each count carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison upon conviction, but a judge would take federal sentencing guidelines into consideration if Gomez is found guilty of the charges.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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