A former employee of the Richmond, Virginia, Department of Social Services recently pleaded guilty to embezzlement following an accounts payable audit that incriminated her, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Theresa Toomey Rittman used one of the department's Walmart credit cards to purchase 13 gift cards from the store between March and August 2008. Although she was authorized to do this, provided the cards were used to buy clothes for her foster-care clients, she instead used the funds for personal expenses.
An investigation conducted by city auditor Umesh Dalal found that Toomey Rittman purchased more than $2,800 worth of groceries, cigarettes, beer, baby food, diapers, and other items.
"None of the clients were infants so they did not need diapers, baby food, or baby clothing, and all the clients resided in a group home which provided their food," noted Dalal, as quoted by the news source.
In the wake of the incident, the department has canceled 17 of its 20 Walmart credit cards and has placed tighter restrictions on how the remaining ones are used.
Establishing a system of checks and balances mitigates the likelihood of organization funds being fraudulently used. Any misappropriation that still occurs despite these precautions can be quickly identified and minimized by regular AP audits.