John W Porter (jcporter@IX.NETCOM.COM)
Sat, 20 Jul 1996 23:28:57 -0700
I appreciate very much all the input I've gotten about lyin', theivin',
treasurers or (fill in the blank). Continue to email me with your
stories. I think it helps us both heal.
One thing I feel I must point out. Two signatures on a check protects
the honest treasurer. It doesn't mean squat when both signatures are
forged. This is how we documented almost $3,000 in theft. And banks
simply don't check the signatures. Unless you are paying a steep
monthly charge (bankers, I'm sure you'll correct me if this is bank
policy only in Texas or something weird like that), the bank only
requires one signature. While it is good _unit_ policy to require two
signatures, and you may have two signature lines on your checks, the
bank will cash a check with only one signature.
When our CC finally approached our DE, he made an appointment for us
with a sheriff dectective. I think we got very good support from him.
The detective suggested that we try to get the money back from her
before we went to court. He told us that our documentation was enough
to charge her with felony theft at that point, but if we went that
route, we probably would never see any of the money. The CM, ACM and
new treasurer met with her and she eventually paid back most of the
money. (Even then I think she conned her way to a smaller amount than
she actually took.) Now here is where I think we made our biggest
mistake (besides letting her be treasurer!). She begged us not to tell
her husband. Had we had her arrested, he would have found out, and I
think he would have bailed her out to avoid the scandal. See, he's the
president of a bank. And she wouldn't be teaching MATH of all things at
one of our local high schools. But then again, who knows. Maybe he
knew what she was doing. On the other hand, she might still live
across the street from me if he had found out. BLEAH! They bought a
bigger house right after this happened....
Consider yourself very lucky if this has never happened to you. If it
has, remember, you were CONNED! Almost everyone who has shared their
experience has described a con-artist. That is definately what this
woman was. She volunteered for everything, was very active at school,
was always available to do the really crappy jobs, drove everyone's
kids home from school, babysat for every working parent and was just
busy, busy, busy endearing herself to everyone. The CM, his wife and I
had known her for years. When the new CC, who hadn't known her long,
began to pick up the discrepancies, we said, "Oh, surely not. She's
nuts and overcommitted, but she's not a theif!" We had been conned!
We all tried to talk to her about the statements or an audit and she
would just agree and tell us whatever we wanted to hear. She agreed to
an audit, but slipped through everyone's fingers. She kept me at arms
length by not letting her kids play with mine. When we finally got the
checkbook, it was just a fabrication. It looked good, but after
getting copies of the checks from the bank, it was all bogus. If we
had ever nailed her down to an audit, she probably would have invented
stuff for that too! To talk to her was like getting caught in a fan.
And until it happens to you, it's hard to understand. And yes, there
was a lot of denial for a while, because after all, we'd known her
forever! Even after we confronted her, she kept throwing up smoke
screens. The one thing that would have kept her from doing all of this
would have been the bank statement.(Okay, so maybe biggest mistake
number three <g>) Had it gone to ANYONE ELSE BUT HER, she probably
never would have even tried. The pack now has it sent to someone
(currently the Den Leader Coach) who does not sign on the account. Just
something we should have learned in Accounting 101!
Up at the top there, did I say something about "one thing"? Thanks for
letting me vent. I could go on, but I won't. If you would like to
vent to me, instead of the whole list like I did, feel free!
Webelos Den Leader, Pack 987
Advancement Chair, Troop 424
and a bunch of other stuff....
Mustang District, Sam Houston Area Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City