||| Roman Milert | Dreamstime |||
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has made a startling discovery that a TD bank employee has tampered with and “manually mishandled” donations sent by parishioners to two fund-raising appeals with the church.
Monsignor Daniel J. Kutys said that the said employee tampered with direct mail and in-pew donations meant for the annual Catholic Charities Appeal and the Annual Seminary Appeal, which uses separate and designated lock boxes through a TD Bank facility for processing.
Monsignor Kutys wrote in a letter sent to parishioners on Thursday: “Rather, an individual, who is now a former employee of the bank, was manually tampering with donations mailed to the lock box. This individual has been arrested and faces criminal charges.”
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese said the probe started after several donors reported their donations had not cleared their bank accounts after a considerable time had passed. The parishioners’ reports prompted the Archdiocese and the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia shared the reports with TD Bank which launched an internal review at its lock box facility that eventually led to the discovery of the misappropriations of donations.
The tampering took place between December 2016 and July 2017. Police were later contacted and they made the necessary arrest.
Monsignor Kutys also made a quick clarification that the tampering could not have been prevented by the Archdiocese, Catholic Charities Appeal, Seminary Appeal and the Catholic Federation of Greater Philadelphia (CFGP) which manage the appeals. He added that they are in the process now of analyzing the level of financial exposure in order to determine restitution for said campaigns.
The Archdiocese and the police both opted not to release the identity of the suspect for now. They assured the parishioners and donors, however, that they are confident that the personal information of the donors was compromised. The extent of the tampering is still being established by the church and the bank, though.
The church believes those who donated and received an acknowledgment letter stating that their donations have been processed have not been affected. Neither are those who made online donations. The Archdiocese believe those who have been affected by the tampering are those who mailed actual cash to the appeals and never got a thank you or acknowledgment letter. The church is also recommending donors who paid by check or credit card and never had the check cleared or card charge to immediately contact their financial institution.
It was not clarified by the church and the bank yet how much money involved was compromised or stolen by the bank employee’s criminal tampering of the donations.
Those who made a donation and are concerned that their contributions were tampered with are requested to contact 1-866-812-8700.