MCAO: Woman charged with embezzling money from Catholic Cemeteries

cemetery AP
Posted at 12:35 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 15:35:06-04

PHOENIX — A woman has been charged with embezzling nearly $60,000 from Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes.

On Tuesday, Maricopa County prosecutors filed charges against Lisa Sue Gonwa, 53, for theft and fraud.

Prosecutors say that Gonwa worked for Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes, which is operated by the Diocese of Phoenix, as an accounting clerk and data entry supervisor. In the fall of 2017, a customer contacted Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes regarding a possible overcharge.

They provided information regarding three money orders used to pay the contract in full. The company contacted their bank and allegedly found out that the "pay to" section of the money orders were changed to Gonwa's name.

Investigators say an analysis of business records showed 125 altered money orders, totaling over $58,000, were deposited into Gonwa's personal account.

When questioned, Gonwa did not recall altering the money orders but did acknowledge her signature endorsing the money orders. She also allegedly told police that she had excessive medical bills, a title loan, and gambling debts.

She has been ordered to make her first court appearance on April 13.