University President Admits Lack of Judgment in Hiring Felon

Following the arrest of a former accountant, the President of the Mississippi University for Women, Dr. Jim Borsig, admits that an unreliable hiring policy was to blame for the nearly $30,000 embezzled from the university’s foundation. Cynthia “Jeannie” Godbey was arrested and charged with embezzlement after an internal audit indicated there were possible financial misdeeds related to the MUW Foundation. Godbey was hired in 2009 to oversee the $37 million endowment belonging to the Foundation, without a background check. After Godbey’s arrest, it was discovered she was a convicted felon, previously charged with several instances of financial misconduct.

When Godbey was hired, the university had recently begun performing background checks, but only for employees in management or those working with children full-time. University officials are not blaming the background check company they use for the mistake, as the university takes the blame for not submitting Godbey’s information to them. Godbey started out employed part-time, later transitioning to a full-time employee, but her position never required a background check or official employment application. Borsig said that by the time of Godbey’s arrest, the university was already looking into tightening background check requirements to make them mandatory for all benefits-eligible employees. According to Borsig, the tougher requirements go beyond Godbey’s position, and are about ensuring the “campus community is safe” and they are “hiring people that [they] want to be part of this university community.” Borsig believes the new hiring procedures are “ironclad” and will do more than only protect the university from embezzlement. “We value our reputation,” he said.

In 1991, Godbey was previously arrested and convicted on two counts of embezzlement. Although she was sentenced to five years of probation and five years in jail, the jail sentence was revoked. A year later she was convicted for false pretense, facing three counts, and arrested in 1999 for a probation violation. She is awaiting trial for her current charges. According to Borsig, the embezzled funds will not affect scholarships or endowment money, as it was involving expense reimbursements. The university is currently seeking to be reimbursed from its insurance provider.

Don’t let your business fall victim to habitual offenders. As mentioned in the article Habitual Offender Hotel Employee Caught Again, for those you place into positions of trust it is even more important to know who you are hiring. By conducting background checks at both the time of hire, and then ongoing checks thereafter, you can feel secure you are doing all you can to protect both your business and your customers. By using a reputable company like, you can be assured you are getting the best and most thorough background check screening techniques available. With access to countless criminal databases nationwide they have many options available, several with instant results. Their US OneSEARCH gives you instant information from more than 430 million criminal records from counties, Department of Corrections (DOC), Administration of Courts (AOC) and State Sex Offender Registries covering 49 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. Also included are national and international terrorism sources, more than 11 million photos, and their proprietary database of previously completed reports. Or try their US AliasSEARCH, which is a multi-faceted search that combines US OneSEARCH with the known aliases provided from a SSN trace. All information derived from this search is run through the US OneSEARCH instant criminal database, assuring all possible aliases are found.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and cofounder of the Expungement Clearinghouse - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit



Get monthly updates on  background check news, industry trends, and changes in laws and regulations.

Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

Michael's recent publications

More Like This Post

State Criminal Search

Virginia Criminal Search

Order a criminal record search for Virginia and get your report in 1-3 days for 10$.

Order a Search for Virginia