Are taxpayer’s overfunding essential services? Embezzler’s think so.

While it is ‘sad’ that people embezzle, what is even more sad is that it took so long to notice. Why is that?

I’m not the judge and jury, and I am sure Baustian will get her day in court. But let’s look at the big picture here. Minnehaha county had a similar incident with the embezzlement of the Sioux Empire Fair, which went unnoticed for a long time.

I don’t want to point fingers at people who neglected to notice these misgivings, but I do want to bring up something that has been bugging me about the embezzlers (both TEA and Fairgrounds): The constant begging of funds.

Why is it that these organizations focus so much on ‘Needing more money’ and asking for the public to fund them, but don’t miss hundreds of thousands of dollars?

Maybe they are overfunded?

If embezzlers can steal large amounts of money for several years without anyone noticing, doesn’t this send a message?

Even in the pimple of a town like Tea, they are milking the taxpayers for something as basic as fire service while their accountant is living high on the hog.

Enough with chasing the embezzlers down, we need to be questioning the politicians that are legislating the funding of these entities.



18 comments ↓

#1 Andy Traub on 04.21.12 at 9:54 pm

Didn’t she steal like $140k over 2 years of a 90k a year budget? That’s like 80%! That’s nuts. Or my math sucks.

#2 Andy Traub on 04.21.12 at 10:00 pm

Yup.
http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?Id=0,130679

#3 Elaine on 04.22.12 at 1:41 am

$170K of $90-$100 budget.

#4 Detroit Lewis on 04.22.12 at 6:49 am

And why does a volunteer fire department have a ‘savings account’ in a small town like Tea? I understand you need reserves, but those should be under lock and key only to be touched by authorization of the board and president of the organization.

#5 MARK on 04.22.12 at 12:25 pm

It’s sad and shocking. Where was the auditor/accountant/review committee?

You often read about embezzling trials resulting in restitution as part of a sentence. But I don’t recall ever reading when an organization announces that restitution has been paid.

I wonder if there’s any data about that — I suspect I know the answer, but I obviously don’t really know the answer. Anyone?

I also think most embezzlers aren’t thinking their victims are overfunded, but focusing on their own selfish motives.

#6 Detroit Lewis on 04.22.12 at 3:20 pm

“You often read about embezzling trials resulting in restitution as part of a sentence.”

I don’t know the details of this case, but my guess is that she gambled the money away, if it is all missing. Usually people who embezzle have some kind of an addiction problem (heck it could be shopping?) and have nothing to show for it.

“I also think most embezzlers aren’t thinking their victims are overfunded, but focusing on their own selfish motives.”

Oh, I agree, I was just trying to make a point about how these organizations receive all this taxpayer money ‘because they need it’ but then don’t notice when there is money missing.

#7 Scott on 04.22.12 at 4:12 pm

Video lottery has created an embezzling industry, turning what were otherwise great employees into money-sucking criminals. Most of the time, the embezzler starts off believing they’re going to just quietly replace the money, but it becomes close to impossible as their losses accumulate. The saddest aspect is that our city’s detectives have little desire to investigate or prosecute unless you catch the person with the cash in their hand.

#8 l3wis on 04.22.12 at 4:29 pm

They have little desire to do anything except hang out at the local hospitals eating free food and chit-chatting in the skate park parking lot.

#9 John2 on 04.22.12 at 4:39 pm

Ah horsefeathers. Tea fire department, Minnehaha County Fair – it’s all small time, a dime here, a nickel there. You folks in keloland (where ever that is) need to stop thinking so small – it’s like you’re riding Shetlands.

The big time embezzlers come from Reagan’s hometown. Professional embezzlers don’t horse around – or maybe when they do they do it like thoroughbreds.

Lovely Rita, (and you bet she’s not a metermaid), slipped $33.2+ million out of Dixon, Illinois (population 16,000, annual budget less than $20 million) coffers – right under the mayor’s and councils’ noses. It appears that horsing around is an expensive habit.

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/330067/20120418/rita-crundwell-dixon-illinois-horses-fraud-charges.htm

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57416369-504083/rita-crundwell-dixon-ill-city-comptroller-accused-of-stealing-$30m-from-governments-fund-authorities-say/

http://goingconcern.com/post/somehow-city-dixon-illinois-just-noticed-30-million-was-missing

I want to know just what the heck the politicians are doing. Who’s auditing the auditors? On the other hand Lovely Rita didn’t do anything that lobbyists don’t try doing every day.

#10 Poly43 on 04.22.12 at 8:08 pm

Video lottery has created an embezzling industry, turning what were otherwise great employees into money-sucking criminals.

EXACTLY the first thing that crossed my mind when I first read about it.

#11 l3wis on 04.23.12 at 1:59 am

I have often argued that the ‘ending VL’ debate isn’t about morals or ethics it is about math. Is the money the state is taking in from VL countering the money it is spending on fighting VL crime and addiction? Doubtful.

#12 Craig on 04.23.12 at 9:01 am

Video Lottery is not the problem, and they likely don’t spend more than 5% of the annual take on VL related crime.

If you didn’t have VL, you would still have the casino in Iowa. If you didn’t have the casino in Iowa you still have the Indian Casinos. If you didn’t have Indian Casinos, you would have “Jimmy’s” poker game in the basement of a building somewhere downtown, or you would have “Mark” the bookie operating out of a shady used car dealership.

We had the random case of embezzlement long before video lottery came to be, and we will have them long after it is gone. Greed is simply a human condition, and some people can never get enough.

I know of a man who embezzled from two different businesses here in Sioux Falls and even after being caught, tried, and sentenced on the first one he went right out and did it again as soon as he had the chance. He didn’t have a gambling addiction or a drug addiction – he had a money addiction, and he used that money to buy a home bigger than he could have afforded, and he bought new cars and took his family on vacations.

In fact look at several of the recent cases of embezzlement that we have heard about. Most of them involve people simply spending beyond their means. They weren’t about a gambling addiction or a drug addiction but were just about someone trying to impress those around them. I’m sure there is a mental disorder at play here, but it often has more to do with ego building and seeking affection/attention than it has to do with addiction.

#13 Shelly on 04.23.12 at 10:20 am

Remove the apostrophes from your title. Neither word is a possessive or a contraction. They’re simple plurals. Just put an ‘s’ on them and quit wasting apostrophes. Before you know it, we’ll have run out of them. Man, that shit just bugs me.

#14 Craig on 04.23.12 at 1:10 pm

Shelly’s right.

/s

#15 Anne on 04.23.12 at 6:07 pm

THANKS, Shelly!

#16 l3wis on 04.23.12 at 10:27 pm

“Video Lottery is not the problem, and they likely don’t spend more than 5% of the annual take on VL related crime.”

I think it is more like 7% when you have to send out the grammar police to arrest volunteer bloggers.

#17 Dukembe on 04.24.12 at 7:00 am

I think the root of the problem is that organizations like volunteer fire departments or the fair board are led by very-well intentioned volunteers, who often don’t have the time or business acumen to run the business side of the organization. These organizations are worthwhile, thus they collect cash regularly; and it’s relatively easy for thieves to mislead the good citizens who have the time to contribute to attending board meetings, but maybe not to dig into the organization’s inner workings.

#18 l3wis on 04.24.12 at 2:33 pm

Duk – I totally understand that. But also believe it should take a vote of the board to take money out of savings or reserves.