January 30, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2012
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH ZWILLING REGARDING ANITA COLLINS
The Archdiocese of New York reported to the Manhattan District Attorney in December 2011 that we uncovered what we initially believed to be the theft of at least $350,000 by Anita Collins, an employee of the Archdiocese. The theft was uncovered by the Archdiocese and our outside auditors following the implementation of enhanced financial oversight controls and safeguards in 2011.
The theft that was uncovered was committed by the employee using a sophisticated fraud to manipulate the accounts payable system in the Department of Education Finance Office. As a result of the investigation conducted by the Manhattan D.A. and with the full cooperation of the Archdiocese, it has been determined that the amount stolen is approximately $1 million. Anita Collins had been an employee of the Archdiocese since 2003 until her termination on December 6, 2011 when the fraud was discovered.
The Archdiocese will continue to cooperate fully with the District Attorney’s office in its investigation, and is grateful to the District Attorney for the sensitive yet thorough way that the investigation has been conducted.
Because the Archdiocese seeks to always be good stewards of the money entrusted to us, we are continually working to improve our financial controls in order to prevent such occurrences from happening. That is why the Archdiocese notified the Archdiocesan Finance Council at the time the theft was uncovered, and continues to follow their advice and counsel. Sadly, there will always be individuals who seek to exploit and circumvent whatever system is established, but we will remain vigilant in our oversight.