Quiet Old Lady Stole $1 Million From NY Catholic Church

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Anita Collins, a 67-year-old Bronx woman, stole more than $1 million from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, and no one would have expected it:

A law enforcement official said that though she appeared to colleagues as a quiet, unassuming woman, Ms. Collins used her position to carry out a sophisticated fraud that consisted in part of billing the archdiocese for nonexistent services and channeling the money into accounts she controlled. Because checks of $2,500 or less did not require approval from a supervisor, Ms. Collins kept the payments just under that amount, issuing over 450 such checks to herself over seven years ...

Except for the fact that she had twice pleaded guilty to charges of grand larceny, including stealing at least $46,000 from a previous employer. The Archdiocese did not typically conduct background checks when Collins was hired, but the church's sexual abuse scandals have since ruined that loophole for future inconspicuous career criminals.