DA: Red Cross thief had previous conviction

Deborah Leggio
Deborah Leggio

The former American Red Cross employee who was arrested this week for allegedly embezzling nearly $275,000 from the nonprofit organization was convicted of a similar crime in Florida more than 20 years ago, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

Deborah Leggio, 47, a former director of the Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross in Yaphank, was convicted of Grand Theft in Clayton County Florida in 1990, the DA’s office confirmed. Ms. Leggio, who was a resident of Orange Park, Fla. at the time, was accused of depositing employers checks into her personal account, the DA’s office said.

A DA spokesperson said court records they obtained did not disclose the name of the employer.

A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Corrections said Friday that while Ms. Leggio’s name is in their computer database, no information about her previous conviction was available.

Ms. Leggio currently stands accused of using the Red Cross chapter’s debit card, which was in her name, to make ATM cash withdrawals, “sometimes as often as every couple of days” from April 2005 to November 2009, District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

The cash withdrawals amounted to $274,301 during that time, officials charged.

Ms. Leggio, who currently lives in Tracy, Calif but previously lived in Coram, was indicted by a grand jury and a warrant was issued, which resulted in her surrender to Suffolk County authorities, officials said.

She pleaded not guilty Tuesday to grand larceny charges before Judge Gary Weber in Suffolk Criminal Court and is being held on $17,500 cash or $35,000 bond.

Prosecutors said Ms. Leggio began working for the Red Cross on Horse Block Road in Yaphank in 2002.

She left for California last year, where she was working as financial director of Renaissance Enterpreneurship Center.

Red Cross spokesperson Craig Cooper declined comment on Ms. Leggio’s prior arrest and the non-profit’s pre-employment screening process.

The Red Cross initially reported irregularities in their financial paperwork to the district attorney’s office last year. They said they have cooperated with the DA’s investigation ever since.

“[We have worked] closely with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office on this case and we are pleased to see it progressing through the proper legal channels,” a Red Cross press release states.

[email protected]