FAIRBANKS — An employee has been accused of embezzling more than $12,000 from the nonprofit organization that owns Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that 40-year-old Shelly Lee Comried has been issued a court summons to face a charge of second-degree felony theft.
According to the criminal complaint, Comried is accused of linking her personal bank account to an Internet-based payment account that the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation uses to receive charitable donations.
Comried worked as an administrative assistant before the alleged embezzlement became known. It’s unclear if she has retained an attorney.
Foundation President Jeff Cook informed the News-Miner about the incident before the newspaper obtained the criminal complaint.
Foundation officials learned of the missing money in December, when Comried’s supervisor noticed deposits were missing from regular donors. Comried gave a tearful confession after an internal investigation, Cook said.
The foundation’s executive board met in early January and decided to pursue criminal charges. They opted to go to the police because of their fiduciary responsibilities to the foundation and out of concern for other nonprofits vulnerable to embezzlement through Internet-based accounts, Cook said.
“We thought we had excellent controls, but even our auditor missed it,” Cook said.
Fairbanks police got a search warrant for Comried’s bank account in January and determined she stole $12,788. Comried also confessed in a police interview, saying she took the money to put her life back together, according to the criminal complaint.
Cook said the foundation is sending an explanation to its donors.
“Everybody who donated has got full credit,” he said. “Nobody is out any contribution to the foundation. The foundation’s out that money, and there’ll be a restitution agreement (although) we don’t have any high hopes that we’ll ever recover that,” he said.
The hospital foundation has since changed its policies for donations through the website Paypal; it now requires two people to process such a donation.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com