Recovery audit reveals archdiocese worker’s $1 million embezzlement

A Bronx, New York, woman was recently arrested and charged with embezzling more than $1 million from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York over a period of seven years, The New York Times reports.

Anita Collins orchestrated the fraud by billing the archdiocese for nonexistent services and making payments for the services to accounts that she controlled. In order to avoid getting approval from a supervisor, she kept the checks under $2,500, issuing a total of more than 450 to herself over the period.

"Every entity has controls in place to try to protect themselves, and the sad thing is that if you've got a corrupt employee they'll find a way around the controls," Adam Kaufmann, chief of investigations for the Manhattan district attorney, told the news source.

A routine accounts payable audit first raised questions about where the archdiocese's money was going, leading to Collins being questioned last month. A recovery audit found that most of the misappropriated funds were spent on mortgage payments and maintaining a lifestyle above Collins' lawful means.

Establishing a system of checks and balances and conducting regular AP audits can reduce the likelihood of embezzlement and quickly crack down on any instances of misappropriation.

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