Monday, April 30, 2012

Trust+No Controls=Fraud

By Gary Snyder

Rita Crundwell was a longtime, trusted employee. She had a virtual stranglehold over city finances. She was Dixon, Illinois’, a city of nearly 16,000, longtime treasurer and comptroller.

City officials didn't monitor the books closely enough to notice that huge amounts of tax dollars were disappearing. She allegedly pilfered an astonishing $30 million from the coffers of the small northwestern Illinois town over the last six years.

The city's auditors did not raise any red flags about the city's finances. There were virtually no questions about what could have been done to prevent the alleged thefts. The auditor might have spotted the large transactions but accepted Crundwell's explanations for them. It was from one account that the FBI alleges Crundwell spent more than $30 million in city money over the last six years on her horse business, a luxury motor home and horse trailer, jewelry, and credit card payments.

All those that knew her were even indifferent to one of the most common indicators of fraud. They shrugged off her lavish personal lifestyle despite her comparatively modest $80,000-a-year city post. (link)

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics, ,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more • Nonprofits: On the Brink (iUniverse, 2006)
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