Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bethany College embezzlement leads to firings, investigation in Pennsylvania

A Bethany College employee who admitted embezzling more than $500,000 from a check-cashing service and the school administrator who oversaw the operation have been fired, school officials said on Tuesday.
Officials at the small Christian school in West Virginia, about 50 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, also said they have closed the cash window — a place where employees and students could cash pay and personal checks — and replaced it with services provided by a bank.
Prosecutors are considering charges against the employee who was fired after admitting the thefts in mid-August, said Sven deJong, a senior vice president at the school, which has about 1,000 students.
The director of finance at the college, who was responsible for reconciling the account in question, also was fired, deJong said. “There is no evidence to indicate that this person was involved in any criminal activity,” said deJong, who would not identify either employee.
Law enforcement authorities have seized assets at the homes of two people in Ohio who are not affiliated with Bethany College, enhancing the likelihood of the school recovering a significant portion of the stolen funds, according to a letter school president Scott D. Miller sent to students and alumni on Tuesday.
The embezzlement came to light during a routine audit in May of the school's financial activities for the fiscal year which ended in June, deJong said. A more in-depth investigation was launched and Brooke County prosecutors were notified.
Prosecutors asked the school in writing not to release any information about the investigation at that time, deJong explained.
The employee who admitted stealing the money had been with the school for seven years, and the finance director had worked with the school for about 15 years, deJong said.

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