Ex-treasurer faces charges in theft f...

Ex-treasurer faces charges in theft from Boxboro minutemen group

There are 7 comments on the Lowell Sun story from Feb 18, 2010, titled Ex-treasurer faces charges in theft from Boxboro minutemen group. In it, Lowell Sun reports that:

When they learned their former treasurer allegedly embezzled an estimated $60,000 from the Boxborough District Minute Men Company's scholarship fund, the volunteer weekend warriors dug deep into their own pockets last year to foot the bill.

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adoptadog

Maynard, MA

#1 Feb 18, 2010
It makes me almost feel that he did not steal the money now that he has admitted it.
He's not sorry he did it, He's sorry he got caught.
Been There

Hudson, MA

#2 Feb 18, 2010
Another theft from a non-profit. I am sure the thief has no fear of conviction because if the trail is in Ayer district Court all that will happen if convicted is he will be put on probation for a couple of years. Well maybe pay some restitution and some community service.
kevin

United States

#3 Feb 18, 2010
Stealing from your friends and a charity. Lowest of the low. He should pay all the money back or go to jail.
Bagdad Harry

United States

#4 Feb 18, 2010
Best part is...
Town of Boxborough was founded in 1783...so there were no Boxborough Minuteman....
But don't let history get in the way.
Is a dam shame when this stuff happens...
Fifers' Day is always a goodtime!
Amused

Newton Center, MA

#5 Feb 19, 2010
kevin wrote:
Stealing from your friends and a charity. Lowest of the low. He should pay all the money back or go to jail.
Correction: he should pay all the money back AND go to jail. Having to pay the money back if you get caught is not enough of a consequence to deter other people entrusted with money that does not belong to them to take that responsibility and trust seriously. It sends a message that this is a risk-free crime, as long as you have the means to pay the money back if caught. Having the money to be able to pay back what you steal also makes the crime itself worse, because if you had enough money available, and chose to steal more, that is just pure greed. If someone is in over their head financially, that does not excuse their abusing the trust place in them, but we can all understand human weakness and see why this happened. Someone who is in no financial distress who steals just to have more money or more stuff is in a whole different league as far as disregard for the rights of others.

The other thing that is clear is that all non-profits, down to the smallest ones, need to rely much less on trust and put in place more checks and balances. The more people who are involved in the finances, the harder it is for one individual to steal. Requiring two signatures on checks, having the person who prepares the checks not authorized to sign checks and needing to bring the checks to another official, having someone other than the person who handles the money open and review the bank statements are all simple steps any organization can take to protect itself. The overwhelming majority of people involved with non-profits are good, honest people, but when it comes to handling the money, there needs to be a system that treats everyone like a potential thief, just because there are a few out there. No diferent from airport security. 99.99% of all passengers are not terrorists, but the systems are in place to catch that 0.01% who are.
Been There

Hudson, MA

#6 Feb 19, 2010
re: The other thing that is clear is that all non-profits, down to the smallest ones, need to rely much less on trust and put in place more checks and balances. The more people who are involved in the finances, the harder it is for one individual to steal.
As one who uncovered a theft at a non-profit, while the above sounds good in practice it isn't as easy as that. Writing checks may be a common method but is just one way for people to steal. Creative accounting is more likely to happen and harder to catch. But the bigger issue is that Non-profits are a target because it is friends stealing from friends and thus even when theft is uncovered the reaction is to want to look the other way for personal reasons as well as wanting to avoid the bad publicity. In this case I applaud those that came forward to prosecute. Trust me it is not an easy thing to do.
Amused

Newton Center, MA

#7 Feb 19, 2010
Been There wrote:
re: The other thing that is clear is that all non-profits, down to the smallest ones, need to rely much less on trust and put in place more checks and balances. The more people who are involved in the finances, the harder it is for one individual to steal.
As one who uncovered a theft at a non-profit, while the above sounds good in practice it isn't as easy as that. Writing checks may be a common method but is just one way for people to steal. Creative accounting is more likely to happen and harder to catch. But the bigger issue is that Non-profits are a target because it is friends stealing from friends and thus even when theft is uncovered the reaction is to want to look the other way for personal reasons as well as wanting to avoid the bad publicity. In this case I applaud those that came forward to prosecute. Trust me it is not an easy thing to do.
I agree that no system is foolproof, and determined thieves can find some creative methods of stealing. However, the more people who are involved in financial oversight, the more likely it is that a theft will be spotted. Regular reviews of the books by an accountant, having someone other than the finance person open and reconcile the bank statements, reconciling the receipt books to the deposit slips are all simple things that make it harder (not impossible, but harder) for anyone to steal.

Remember, a non-profit is not just a group of friends, it is a business. The only difference between a non-profit and a for-profit business is that the non-profit must re-invest any surplus of revenue over expense back into the operation, instead of distributing it as profit to the business' owners. A non-profit that forgets that and does not run its affairs in a business-like way will soon be out of business.

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