Theft in the Church
These days we see theft and deception everywhere, even in churches. In the local news, we have a bookkeeper accused of stealing $thousands$ from a church by taking donations meant for the school. The issue of trust comes into play in many a minds. As a minister or a small business owner, you want to believe that people can still be trusted. Although there are still many trustworthy people, the reality is that morality and right and wrong are becoming more subjective based on the benefits available to the decision maker at the time of the decision. Opportunity, motive and rationalization . So, why does an Accountant/Fraud Examiner choose topics like this for their blog? I choose these topics for two reasons: 1) because I believe small business owners need more than trust as the “go to” tools in their Asset Protection Arsenal and 2) because I am passionate about helping business owners cover their assets. I chose this particular story because this is one of the few cases where the victim organization recoups the money that was taken from them. I want to offer other options and solutions to churches and businesses.
Small business owners and ministers need to consider steps to prevent fraud from the beginning, through the use of reference checks or even background checks. The purposes of these tests are to create an awareness when there are prior issues with the law or previous employers. This is an important step in setting the “tone from the top.” Creating the idea from the interview that unethical behavior will not be tolerated. Because every theft is not reported or prosecuted, reference checks may be your only indication that you should be leery of a candidate. These are tests that are relatively cheap in comparison to the median loss of an embezzlement scam.
So what happens if you don’t do any of these tests in the beginning?
Then you need to rely on Internal Controls such as segregation of duties, checks and balance, and management approval processes to protect your assets. This is the time when you can begin to trust, but you still need to verify. Verify that there is accountability to go with any temptation created by cash and other assets on hand.
So you can be aware of similar vulnerabilities you may have in your organization, read the rest of the story at http://www.wave3.com/story/23571610/bookkeeper-accused-of-stealing-thousands-from-church