According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana, Teresa Maners, a 64-year-old woman of Spencer, Indiana, has been sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud.
An embezzlement of over $300k was noticed within the Indiana University Foundation in 2019 after the Foundation discovered accounting irregularities and conducted an external audit. They confronted Maners at this time.
The IU Foundation is an organization with the mission of providing Indiana University with the financial support it needs to succeed, through both fundraisers and private donations.
Maners was employed with the IU Foundation as a depositor and payroll deduction associate beginning in 1988. Maners’s job duties required her to handle money directly, including being the only employee in charge of recording cash donations.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice press release, during the years of her employment at the foundation, Maners stole hundreds of thousands of dollars through a “lapping scheme.”
In this scheme, Maners took the cash before recording it in the foundation’s accounting systems, then hid the stolen cash by secretly withholding checks from that day’s deposit. She then substituted those checks in a subsequent day’s deposit to hide the amount that was missing. In addition to this, she also wrote checks to the foundation from her personal bank account to cover the difference between the substituted donor checks and the stolen cash.
“For years, this defendant abused her position of trust to line her own pockets and steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable donations from a foundation dedicated to advancing important educational programs in our state,” U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers said in the press release.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation because, according to Justia wire fraud is a criminal offense under federal law. Wire fraud involves any scheme to defraud another person that uses electronic communications, both across state lines or internationally, so this matter falls under federal jurisdiction. According to the FBI, “Federal law gives the FBI authority to investigate all federal crime not assigned exclusively to another federal agency.”
“Charitable organizations like the Indiana University Foundation count on people in positions of trust to act in the interests of organization and its mission rather than taking advantage of their position for personal gain as the defendant did,” FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert Stapleton said in the release.
Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, who imposed the sentence on Maners, ordered she be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for two years following her release from federal prison and pay $326,334.64 in restitution.