Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Woman indicted in theft

Charity didn't know worker had previous convictions

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - A Monroe woman with two prior theft convictions has been indicted on charges that she stole $95,600 from the Warren County Foundation. The nonprofit organization says it has taken steps to avoid being victimized again.

In an indictment released Monday, a Warren County grand jury accuses Marcia J. Snively, 41, a former executive assistant at the foundation, of 14 counts of forgery and two counts of felony theft.

The case is the latest in an unrelated series of embezzlements at Greater Cincinnati nonprofits.

Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said Snively took nine checks from individual donors to the foundation and deposited them into her account, and wrote 20 more checks to herself from the foundation's account. The thefts began in September 2002, nine months after Snively began working for the foundation. It fired her this past July, Hutzel said.

Hutzel said she thinks Snively might have been using the money to make restitution payments for her previous offenses: thefts of $34,000 from estates while she worked for a law firm, and $16,532 from Lakota Freshman School.

Efforts to obtain comment from her attorney, Cynthia Brandenburg, were unsuccessful. A court date for Snively has not been set.

Snively served two years in prison for the previous thefts; the foundation didn't know because it did not check Snively's background before hiring her.

Businesses and groups should do background checks on any job candidate who is going to be handling money - and employ other safeguards, Hutzel said. "Every one of these (embezzlement) cases that we've had this year involved one person who was responsible for handling accounts payable as well as accounts receivable; there weren't enough checks and balances in place," she said.

Henry Brockman, the foundation's vice president and chief administrative officer, said his group has sufficient insurance to cover the losses. To prevent a recurrence, the foundation will perform pre-employment background checks and is taking other preventive measures, he said.


E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com

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