- Mark Baron, President
CVRA Special Financial Announcement
I would like to give the CVRA membership an update on an issue they may be aware of that’s been happening over the past year. In January of 2018 the CVRA became aware that the treasurer at the time had embezzled CVRA funds. The embezzlement occurred over period of years. When the CVRA found out what had been done, the treasurer was given an opportunity to make restitution. When that failed, the treasurer was prosecuted. This past January (2019) he was prosecuted and pleaded guilty to two felony counts. Sentencing is scheduled to be held in June 2019. The court and the CVRA will still be working on recovery/restitution of the funds, which may not be addressed until sentencing. I hope members understand the hardship that this caused the CVRA and its membership, and that near term, the organization may be limited in providing funds for programs, events, prizes. etc. We have started the process to slowly rebuild the organization’s funds through conservative spending and the generosity of board members through donations. We will provide an update when the case completes the sentencing phase.
1. What has the CVRA done to prevent that from happening again?
The board has implemented new procedures and controls over the CVRA account. Multiple people have access and review the account on a regular basis. Improved reporting is also in effect that would highlight any irregularities.
2. Why did it take so long to discover the loss?
The same financial reporting procedures were followed as prior treasurers without any issue so there was no indication or concern that funds were being embezzled. False accounting reports were provided to the board as part of treasurer board updates. Over the treasurer’s tenure, performance issues were identified concerning the treasurer, which lead to requesting his resignation. As part of the resignation/turnover process, it was discovered that CVRA funds were embezzled for personal use. The treasurer admitted to taking the funds and using for his personal benefit.
3. How much was embezzled?
The entire balance of CVRA funds were embezzled. The amount taken resulted in two felony charges being leveled.
4. How were funds embezzled?
Funds were taken via ATM transactions at multiple locations in the treasurer’s home town. ATM transactions are not authorized transactions for dispensing CVRA funds.
5. Is the CVRA account ever audited by an independent organization?
Yes. Audits are done when transitioning treasurers. The CVRA account was audited by an independent CPA when it transitioned from the previous treasurer to now convicted treasurer. The account was in good standing when it was transitioned.
6. What penalty will the treasurer be subject to?
Penalties will be determined at the sentencing in June and will be determined by the judge based a recommendation from the court, taking multiple factors into consideration. In addition, since the discovery of the embezzlement the treasurer has been suspended from participation in any USAR/CVRA sanctioned events. That will remain in effect indefinitely.