DANVILLE -- The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office has charged three people with embezzling nearly $600,000 from St. Isidore's Catholic Church, police said.
Kathleen Dake, 58, of Blackhawk, and Virgilio Lukban, 46, of Danville, were arrested and booked Monday at County Jail in Martinez. Dake is being held on $433,000 bond and Lukban on $134,000 bond.
Both have been charged with five counts of embezzlement.
A third person, 64-year-old Evelyn Peinado, of Alamo, was arraigned Monday in a Walnut Creek courtroom on three counts of embezzlement and released on her own recognizance, said Danville police Chief Steve Simpkins.
According to a statement released Monday by the Diocese of Oakland, the investigation began in May 2010 when the Rev. Gerry Moran noticed some financial irregularities and asked his parish finance committee to look into it. On Aug. 30, the diocese's finance office reported the suspected embezzlement to Danville police.
Mike Brown, spokesman for the Diocese of Oakland, said Dake was the full-time office manager at the church. She was terminated in September. Lukban was the full-time facilities manager and was terminated in March. Peinado was not a full-time employee, but volunteered and is a church member.
Simpkins said the case involved credit cards and checks and that it took time to track down where all the money went. Police say the three stole about $360,000 using credit cards and that Dake stole $220,000 more using checks from the church for personal expenses.
"It's a pretty significant amount you're talking about, just under $600,000," Simpkins said.
Brown said the Diocese intends to seek restitution.
"I think human nature is such that parishioners will look at this and say, did we just throw all that money away? And our answer is no, not at all."
Contact Sophia Kazmi at 925-847-2122. Follow her at Twitter.com/sophiakazmi . Contact Jeanine Benca at 925-847-2125.