Salvation Army Gets Burned by Convicted Felon
April 20, 2006
If there is one thing that we as pre-employment screeners try to stress to our clients and potential clients, it is that no one is immune to internal employee theft. Whether at the highest levels of financial institutions or with a cashier at a local grocery store, U.S. businesses are getting robbed blind by their own employees.
And nowhere is it more disgraceful when it happens to a charitable organization as depicted in a recent article published in the Honolulu Advertiser, Felon’s Past Wasn’t Checked. The article details how a Salvation Army employee bilked the organization for $150,000 by diverting donation money to his own personal bank account.
Unfortunately, this incident could have been avoided if the Salvation Army conducted criminal background checks on employees with access to significant amounts of money. It turns out that this employee had at least one major felony conviction for stealing $2.2 million from an elderly couple in Colorado. Had a cursory criminal background check been conducted, this record would have been found and the employer might have made a different hiring decision.
I know. It’s easy for us to suggest this practice without considering the financial impact on the charity. But consider that if this happened with one Salvation Army office in Hawaii, that this is indeed taking place all over the country. This is not an isolated incident. So if you add up $150,000 here and $50,000 there and so on and so forth, that number gets really big. The cost of developing and implementing an effective screening process for those key employees would be a pittance compared to the aforementioned sum and would reduce the occurrence of such incidents.
What does your organization do to combat these risks? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.