AP audit reveals embezzlement from religious organization

The former bookkeeper for the Little Sisters of the Poor is accused of embezzling more than $364,000 from the religious organization after an accounts payable audit discovered financial inconsistencies. The defendant pleaded guilty to the charges and will serve 27 months in prison.

Mary Monfort managed to steal the money by forging the names of nuns on 43 checks coming from the organization's accounts. She then deposited these checks into her husband's bank account and used the stolen funds to purchase two vehicles, as well as pay for her daughter's rent, personal bills and travel expenses. Investigators state that Monfort, who began working for the religious order in 2007, conducted the scheme from April 2010 to November 2011. After one nun found discrepancies in the Little Sisters of the Poor financial records, authorities were alerted and an investigation was launched.

At the sentencing hearing, Monfort explained that she had embezzled the money to cover personal expenses and assist family members who needed financial help. She received a lenient sentence, in part due to the fact that U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley wanted to ensure the organization received all of the money that was embezzled, which Monfort will be required to pay back in restitution.

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