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

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