Thursday, March 28, 2013

Poor Background Check Cost Schools $200,000+

by Gary Snyder

The chief financial officer of the Brighter Choice Foundation (NY) pleaded guilty to ripping off close to $203,000 from the organization, which funds 10 Albany public charter schools. 

He is an old hand at embezzlement having pleaded guilty to swindling  $202,837 from KeyBank in Albany, where he was employed as a manager in the Community Development Lending Group

At the time of his January arrest, Ronald Racela was still on probation for the KeyBank conviction. Racela, who earned $120,000 a year, made false payroll entries at the Brighter Choice Foundation that allowed him to get extra payroll checks over a roughly 15-month period. 

Brighter Choice officials said they were unaware of Racela's felonious background when they hired him as financial director of Brighter Choice Foundation. The reason was that the agency failed to check. It was only after some 18 months when the state Education Department sent written notice of Racela's criminal history to Brighter Choice did they find out. The department denied the school's request to clear Racela for employment. The Education Department conducts criminal background checks on public and charter school employees. 

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 (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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