Million Dollar Theft May Have Been Prevented with a Background Check

By Michael Klazema on 2/14/2012

The Archdiocese of New York has been victimized to the tune of a million dollars and all of it could have been prevented if they had chosen to do background checks on those who worked for them. Anita Collins was hired by the Archdiocese eight years ago in the accounts payable department. She volunteered at church events, prayed, attended mass often and was even mentioned in the Archdiocese newspaper as an outstanding member of the church. What they didn’t know, however, was that Collins was stealing money from the church in order to fund an alleged addiction to mail order dolls and bears, along with other items.

Collins has allegedly been taking money from the Archdiocese for years, but it was not noted until December, 2011 when the church organization did an audit of their finances. She was confronted about the money, subsequently terminated and the church referred the case to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The district attorney’s office has found 468 checks from the Archdiocese written by Collins to her son. After the checks were written, she would allegedly change the ledger to reflect that the checks had gone to a legitimate place. Collins has been charged with grand larceny and falsifying business records. She could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

It is important to note that the Archdiocese does perform background checks presently, and if they had performed a background check on Collins, they would have found this was not the first time she has been in trouble for theft. She was accused of stealing over $45,000 from a former employer and she was also accused of issuing duplicate checks at that time. She plead guilty, was given probation and community service and never mentioned this when hired by the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese had another opportunity to find out about Collins’ background when they made it mandatory to perform background checks on their new employees. Since they only do background checks on new employees and not present employees, Collins fell through the cracks again.

This incident is simply another example of why it is important to perform background checks on every employee and not just new employees. Hiring a third party background check company like will make this process easy. The product called Single State OneSEARCH would have picked up Collins’ previous conviction and saved the Archdiocese a lot of time, headache and not to mention, money.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - 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

Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 20 Employers who use E-Verify must follow the proper steps and procedures when they receive a “tentative non-confirmation notice” from either the Social Security Administration or Department of Homeland Security. Failure to follow the proper procedures can cost employers both time and money. 
  • March 20

    Four Department of Commerce employees are out after their background checks resulted in security clearance denials. All four had worked high-ranking positions for months despite incomplete background checks.

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants. 
  • March 01 In an age of "industry disruptors" turning established business models on their heads, companies such as Uber and Lyft rely on a unique workforce of individuals outside the traditional employer-employee context. Uber calls them "partners" while other businesses refer to them as "independent contractors," the official classification these individuals use for tax purposes. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revealed they had warned a business, Postmates, for misclassifying their staff as independent contractors. In the NLRB's determination, these individuals were employees.