HR Strange But True!
October 21, 2009

We have covered our fair share of cases involving embezzlement by employees, but the latest story is probably the most heartbreaking because of who ultimately felt the impact of the grifter's actions.

A nonprofit organization that provides shelter to homeless women and their children says it was forced to turn away 80 of them because a bookkeeper embezzled nearly $250,000 from the organization.

Federal prosecutors say the office manager/bookkeeper embezzled more than $238,000 from the House of Ruth's bank accounts over the course of 4 years. The kicker is, one account included the savings of homeless women, who were working toward becoming self-sufficient.

In court, Sister Jennifer Gaeta, the executive director of the House of Ruth, said that the organization was forced to sell one of its properties to raise money to cover shortfalls directly related to the fraud and that it had to turn away more than 80 women and their children seeking shelter. Gaeta said the office manager/bookkeeper didn't steal out of a desire to support her family, but out of her desire to buy a bigger house, new cars, and jewelry.

The office manager/bookkeeper pleaded guilty to two counts of misapplication of property from an organization receiving federal funds. The House of Ruth receives federal funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. In September, a federal judge sentenced her to serve 12 months in federal prison.

Source: Justice Department

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