Monday, November 1, 2010

Just scratching the surface on embezzlement

James Ulvog (who goes to my church) has linked to a post about a particular church embezzlement case. In the eyes of the law, a church is like any other non-profit, and there's always the possibility that a non-profit will employ someone who does bad things.

The post details how the church first learned of the embezzlement:

According to court records, the case came to light in November when a pastor called police to the church at 4210 Austin Bluffs Parkway to report that an ex-employee had admitted to stealing $13,000. Church officials had discovered the money was missing as the result of an audit. They told police that Butts had submitted a letter Nov. 25 admitting to the theft.

But Jennifer Lynne Butts' letter didn't quite admit to everything.

In March, police said a church auditor presented them with bank records showing fraudulent transactions totaling $106,977 from November 2007 to August 2009.

In the end, Butts pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $179,670 in restitution, apologize to the church, serve 90 days in home detention and 6 years of probation, and perform 200 hours of community service. Butts is also banned from working as a bookkeeper.

There are a number of different directions in which to go with this story. Ulvog mentioned that he will explore the "I will pay it back" rationalization in the future, and I'm sure that some will look at this from the health care angle (Butts claimed that she embezzled to pay her daughter's medical bills).

My point of interest, however, is the "where there's smoke there's fire" argument. Sometimes the discovery of a relatively small item - in this case, $13,000 embezzlement - may must be the tip of the iceberg. Additional checks found that the actual amount was over $100,000.

Something to keep in mind when a problem is discovered.
blog comments powered by Disqus