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72-Year-Old Charged With Stealing $150K from Charity


7 October 2015 at 2:24 pm
Ellie Cooper
Australia’s oldest charity, The Benevolent Society says it has taken action to address its financial procedures following an alleged $150,000 fraud by a former employee.

Ellie Cooper | 7 October 2015 at 2:24 pm


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72-Year-Old Charged With Stealing $150K from Charity
7 October 2015 at 2:24 pm

Australia’s oldest charity, The Benevolent Society says it has taken action to address its financial procedures following an alleged $150,000 fraud by a former employee.

Last week a 72 year-old Sydney woman was charged with allegedly defrauding her Not for Profit employer over a seven-year period from 2007.

The Benevolent Society said it was shocked that a trusted employee allegedly secretly embezzled almost $150,000 from the organisation.

NSW police said in a statement that in September 2014, the finance team of the Non for Profit organisation allegedly identified discrepancies in their banking accounts.

“The organisation then hired private forensic investigators to review these accounts,” a NSW police statement said.

“The investigators identified banking discrepancies allegedly totalling $148,984.05, which occurred between December 2007 and August 2014.

“A long-term employee of the organisation employed as a client accounts officer was identified as a possible suspect in the matter.Police from Surry Hills Local Area Command were notified and commenced an investigation.”

The woman was arrested and charged with stealing property as clerk/servant greater than $15,000. The woman was granted conditional bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday 22 October 2015.

“We took action as soon as we became aware that there were some discrepancies occurring to do with money received from clients not being banked in total in The Benevolent Society’s bank account,” The Benevolent Society CEO, Joanne Toohey, said.

“We engaged forensic accountant Grant Thornton to investigate and it took a while to determine the full extent of the fraud.

“The Benevolent Society views this matter extremely seriously. To avoid further instances of fraud we have thoroughly reviewed our internal controls and financial reporting procedures. No cash is being handled at any of our sites.

“The investigation found that no clients suffered any financial loss as a result of the employee's actions. The loss was carried by The Benevolent Society’s insurance.”


Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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