The theft of over $18,000 by way of check forgery was discovered as part of a routine cost analysis conducted by the our full time paid Director in February of 2019. A former volunteer co-director who worked on budget and finance, but was never a signatory on any bank accounts, stole and/or altered checks, forged the signatures of authorized signatories, then altered financial records and presented false financial reports for the purpose of hiding the theft. We are grateful that the oversights in place detected the theft and have added additional safeguards.
The Cooperstown Food Pantry has enjoyed the trust and support of the greater Cooperstown community since 1977. The day to day operation of the food pantry was not affected, and our financial status remains stable. The financial loss, while not inconsequential and now returned, is much less of a concern than loss of trust from donors large and small.
We pressed charges as we felt that it was in the best interest of our organization that the stolen funds be recovered, and that the defendant have a criminal record that would help prevent others from becoming victims of similar crimes. The defendant pleaded guilty to to a three-year conditional discharge on a charge of grand larceny in the fourth degree, a Class U felony, and received 3 years probation instead of jail time upon payment of full restitution of all funds stolen which was made at the time of sentencing on December 20th, 2019.
The Cooperstown Food Pantry understands that many organizations choose not to press charges or publicize theft and fraud of this kind. We have chosen the opposite in hopes of preventing similar crimes being committed in the future and wish to assure the community that the mission and goal of the Cooperstown Food Pantry to feed those in need has not been diminished.