Friday, March 14, 2014

The devastation of charity by fraud

by Gary Snyder


St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic charity dedicated to serving needy people. 
It's not an organization you would expect to be the target of crime, but the Tacoma office is now missing a half-million dollars. 
Executive Director Charlie Thompson said, “It’s been siphoned, stolen, however you want to put it, taken from the organization.” He described the theft as embezzlement, and an "inside" job that may have spanned a decade.
Last summer, the charity's board discovered some bills weren't being paid, including $200,000 to a garbage company. Thompson said, “Items were disguised as payments to a regular vendor, one that you would expect to be paying, but they were rerouted into personal accounts.”
Two of St. Vincent’s employees were fired and the law was called. 
The fallout has been layoffs.  St. Vincent had to let 40 percent of its staff, a total of eleven people, go. 
It had to close one of three thrift stores it operated in January.  Insurance will cover some of the losses.
Thompson said there's a chance of getting restitution if someone is prosecuted for the theft.  He said the FBI is investigating. (source)


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: Charity Navigator, Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio (NPR), Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), “Betrayal”, (a movie), NBC (on Charity Fraud…TBD), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Marie Claire, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, Charity Navigator, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, Board Room Insider, USA Today Topics, Accountants News, Newsweek.com, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times, Portfolio Magazine, The Virgin Islands Daily News, NANKAI (China) BUSINESS REVIEW, National Religious Broadcasters newsletter, The Charity Governance Blog, American Chronicle, Palm Beach Post, Detroit Free Press, Oakland Press, Nonprofit World, Socially Responsible Business Forum, PNNOnline, Ohio Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Good Practice Guide, Nonprofit Startup Guide, Nonprofit Blog, National Coalition of Homeless Newsletter, Finance and Administration Roundtable Newsletter, MichiganNonprofit.com, CORP! Magazine, Crain’s Michigan Nonprofit, ncrp.org, PhilanTopic, Nashville Free Press, Nonprofit Law Blog, Seniors World Chronicle, Carnegie Reporter, Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners Examiner, msnbc.com, Worchester (MA) Telegram and Gazette, Carnegie Corporation of America, EO Tax Journal, Wikipedia: Non-profit Organizations; Parent: Wise Austin, Accountants News, Veterans Today, Answers.com, Far-roundtable, #Nonprofit Report, nonprofithelpnews, nonprofit news; National Enquirer, Northwest Herald, The HelpWise Daily, The #Nonprofit Report, Wikipedia (Nonprofit Organization), Answers.com, Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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