ShareThis Page
The theft epidemic: Simple safeguards |

The theft epidemic: Simple safeguards

| Wednesday, January 14, 2015 9:00 p.m

Embezzlement and other “insider” theft that victimizes professional, fraternal and community organizations have reached epidemic proportions in our region. And too many groups aren’t taking steps to safeguard their money from members and leaders who have become common thieves.

In the latest episode, a business education teacher told the Pine-Richland Education Association that he stole $175,000 from the union. While admitting guilt is unusual, this kind of case is all too common:

• A Baldwin Borough man was accused in November of stealing more than $40,000 donated to a VFW post and an American Legion post whose color guard he once led.

• The same month, a Uniontown PTO treasurer was charged with stealing more than $16,000.

• And a Washington County volunteer fire department lost more than $105,000, allegedly to its former president and his girlfriend, its former treasurer.

Clearly, trust is not enough.

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told the Trib on Tuesday that such organizations should take two basic steps:

• Have an independent review of their books done once or twice a year

• Require more than one signature to cash their checks.

There are things “any organization can do,” he says.

That so many do not employ basic financial safeguards is inexplicable and an open invitation to more appalling thefts by insiders.

Categories: Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.