Elected officials at small organizations typically gain the ability to directly control operational budgets, so it's up to internal policies to ensure that no fraudulent accounts payable behavior is being perpetrated. Fortunately, associations can leverage audit solutions in order to get an added layer of protection against any suspicious activity.
According to the Virgin Islands Daily News, Donald Liburd, the former president of the Police Benevolent Association in St. Thomas, was charged with embezzlement. The organization Liburd was responsible for is a union that represents officers in the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to the source, a high-ranking member of the association, Cpl. Elroy Raymo, became suspicious of his activities while he held the position.
It wasn't until after Liburd was impeached by the organization that a review of the union's accounts revealed some of the payment information was inconsistent with a treasury report from earlier in the year. An investigation into the financial background of Liburd's administration discovered that large sums of union money – more than to $65,000 in total – had been misappropriated into the former president's own account.
"He fraudulently wrote checks made payable to himself or cash and appropriated the funds therefrom to his own personal use or use of another without any lawful authority to do so," noted a Superior Court document submitted about the case.
The National Legal and Policy center reported that a criminal report was filed, which alleged misconduct and theft of more than $100,000. Liburd has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced next month.
Although it is difficult to acknowledge that trusted leaders are capable of mishandling organization funds, it is important that coffers are protected internally as well as externally. Conducting AP audits and leveraging accounts payable solutions are ways that responsible associations can implement checks and balances in order to safeguard their money.