Evidence of misappropriation has been found in the financial records of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Moss Landing, California. An accounts payable audit found the discrepancies and an investigation has been launched to look further into the activity of a former employee of MBARI.
Executives from the research facility told authorities that they believe an ex-employee, who has not yet been named, stole approximately $800,000 from the institute's accounts. The preliminary audit found that the embezzlement scheme took place over a period of nine years. Although the illegal activity happened for a number of years, MBARI was unable to detect any embezzlement since the transactions were small and were taken out of accounts that fluctuated, such as payroll.
According to The Californian, the funds were part of the annual grant that the institute receives from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The money from the organization given to MBARI accounts for nearly 80 percent of its annual budget, which ranges from between $30 million and $40 million. The research facility said although the funds were embezzled, its employees or operations have not been compromised, reports the news source.