I hope you never need this information, but if you suspect someone in your homeschool group is embezzling money, here’s what you need to do:
(an excerpt from my upcoming book Money Management in a Homeschool Organization: A Guide for Treasurers. Expected release date January 2014)
What to Do If You Suspect Fraud
Get help from an attorney, a CPA with fraud experience or a certified fraud examiner. If an investigation is warranted, says Allan Bachman, education manager of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, it should be conducted by a trained professional and not by group members with no training in such matters.
Resist the temptation to confront the suspect. If you try to handle the matter internally, you could put yourself and your group at risk for liability.
Contact the police when advised by your lawyer. This is an agonizing decision, but it should be made based on the evidence, not your personal relationship with the person you suspect.
Cooperate with the authorities. The police will review evidence, question the suspect, and determine whether he or she should be charged. If police decline to pursue the case, your attorney can advise you on a civil suit.
When communicating with your group, focus on the steps you are taking to recover the money and prevent theft. Do not comment on past actions, including the alleged theft and any current or pending charges, unless the person has been convicted.
Keep your group functioning as normally as possible. A legal case can take a year or longer to resolve. You don’t want to put your events and other activities on hold.[i]
Please do not let embezzlement go unpunished. The guilty party will just go onto another organization and could do more damage. Seek to get the embezzled funds paid back to you.
[i] Ghezzi, Patti. “Protect Your Parent Group From Embezzlement.” PTO Today. http://www.ptotoday.com/pto-today-articles/article/1180-protect-your-parent-group-from-embezzlement. Accessed October 29, 2013.