Former IU foundation employee sentenced to one year for embezzling more than $326,000 in donations
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Teresa Maners, 64, of Spencer, Indiana, has been sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud.
According to court documents, Maners was employed with the Indiana University Foundation as a Depositor and Payroll Deduction Associate beginning in 1988. The Indiana University Foundation works to maximize financial support for Indiana University through private donations and on-campus fundraisers. Maners’ job duties included recording cash and checks received from donors, and preparing them for deposit in the foundation’s bank account.
During her employment, Maners stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the foundation by taking cash before recording it in the foundation’s accounting systems. To hide the stolen cash, Maners secretly withheld checks from the day’s deposits, and substitute those checks in a subsequent day’s deposit to hide the missing cash. She also wrote checks to the foundation from her personal bank account to cover any difference between the substituted donor checks and the stolen cash. This type of fraud is sometimes referred to as a “lapping scheme.” As the only employee in charge of recording cash donations, Maners was able to alter the accounting paperwork to “balance” the books and keep the stolen cash donations for herself. Maners continued the fraud for nearly four years, and stole approximately $326,334 from the foundation. In 2019, the foundation conducted an external audit after discovering accounting irregularities, and confronted Maners, who admitted to stealing the money.
“For years, this defendant abused her position of trust to line her own pockets and steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable donations from a foundation dedicated to advancing important educational programs in our state,” said U.S. Attorney, Zachary A. Myers. “Our office and the FBI are dedicated to identifying criminals who steal from and defraud our charities, businesses, and government organizations and holding them accountable. The federal prison sentence imposed here demonstrates that financial crimes cause serious harms and merit serious punishment.”
“Charitable organizations like the Indiana University Foundation count on people in positions of trust to act in the interests of organization and its mission rather than taking advantage of their position for personal gain as the defendant did,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton. “The FBI will continue to identify and investigate those who choose to commit fraud and enrich themselves at the expense of others.”