A 67-year-old employee of the Archdiocese of New York has been accused of stealing more than $1 million from the church. According to the Manhattan DA's office Anita Collins allegedly wrote herself more than 450 checks from the church, all under $2,500, over more than eight years. The worst part about the story? Collins has previously been busted for financial shenanigans. Twice. The church just wasn't doing criminal background checks when she was hired in 2003.
Collins worked at the archdiocese main headquarters in Manhattan and allegedly made a habit of writing checks to accounts she controlled that were just under the amount that would require a supervisor's approval. At first she was taking from accounts payable but eventually she was writing checks out of the church's education finance office and then the main office. Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said the scheme diverted money "designated for the purpose of helping to provide Catholic education."
Collins was caught after a "routine audit" and promptly fired in December. According to the Times:
The archdiocese now conducts background checks on its employees, a safeguard instituted in the wake of the sexual-abuse scandals involving the clergy. The current accusation against Ms. Collins has also set off an additional review of financial procedures and oversight, Mr. Zwilling said, though he added that at this point, no disciplinary actions were being considered against any of Ms. Collins’s superiors.
As for Collin's previous crimes? In 1986 she was arrested in the Bronx on multiple counts of criminal forgery and grand larceny. She pleaded guilty to a Class A misdemeanor and was on probation for three years. Then, in June 1999, she was arrested and charged with stealing at least $46,000 over 16-months while working as a payroll manager for a temp company called AccuStaff. She pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny in the third degree for that and got five years probation.