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Accounts payable clerk pilfers over $200,000 from Minnesota public school

NewsAnna Bowsher, Reseacher10.10.2012 Comments (0)Bookmark


It’s something that we all think will never happen to us. Our most trusted, long term employees syphoning funds away from the business.

But according to the National Fraud Authority, fraud committed by employees accounts for nearly 50% of all reported types of fraud experienced by businesses across a range of industries. In North America, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that the longer a perpetrator has worked for an organisation, the higher the fraud losses tend to be.

Just last week, Mary Chris Turner, 59, former accounts payable clerk at La Crescent-Hokah public school in Onalaska, Minnesota, was charged with felony theft, swindle, embezzlement of public funds and credit card fraud.

Police have unearthed credit card bills detailing losses of $202,618 since 2008, evidence of unauthorised cheques Mr Turner had made out to herself while indicating the money was paid to vendors, and around $5,000 of cash withdrawals from the company credit card.

An investigation was triggered after district officials discovered missing cheques during an annual audit and a doctored credit card statement.

Police questioned Turner on Wednesday, and she admitted taking money for 5 to 10 years, acknowledging the total amount could be more than $100,000. Turner said she gambled at the casino in Black River Falls, played pull tabs at the American Legion and played bingo at Crucifixion School in La Crescent. According to the complaint, Turner also admitted to skimming about $10,000 over the past six years from gate proceeds for sectional playoff games.

Superintendent Ron Wilke said the school district is cooperating with law enforcement and is pursuing an internal investigation. He said the district is insured against such thefts.

Last week I interviewed Mary Schaeffer, Editor in Chief of Accounts Payable Now and Tomorrow, on how to recognise and prevent fraud in your business. Listen to the interview here and stop a Mary Chris Turner from turning up in your organisation.

accounts payable, purchase-to-pay fraud, AP fraud, purchase to pay, procure to pay, Mary Scheffer, P card

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