A New York woman has been charged with stealing approximately $1 million dollars from the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. Anita Collins was hired by the church in 2003 working as an accounts payable clerk in the department of education. Her duties included issuing checks, making payments to vendors, and processing invoices (which made it possible for her to steal nearly a million dollars from her employer).
The Archdiocese explains that “the theft that was uncovered was committed by the employee using a sophisticated fraud to manipulate the accounts payable system in the department of education finance office.” Ms. Collins would issue hundreds of checks made payable to “KB Collins.” She would generate the unauthorized checks by inputting a legitimate vendor’s name in the accounting program, change the payee and vendor name on the check, then change the vendor’s name back to the legitimate one in the system, resulting in the unauthorized checks to Collins going undetected—until recently, that is.
However, the archdiocese must assume partial responsibility based on the simple fact that a pre-employment background check wasn’t conducted on Ms. Collins back in 2003. If the church conducted a simple criminal background check, they would find that in 1999, Ms. Collins was convicted of grand larceny and sentenced to community service and five years probation. The Church responded by stating “Pre-employment background checks for all employees began shortly after Collins was hired in 2003.”