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Cops: Bookkeeper Embezzles $830K from National Veterans Services Fund

"In 2013 alone, [the bookkeeper] wrote 135 unauthorized checks for over $185,000 to herself and to her family members," Darien police announced.

Cynthia Tanner, 52, of Stanton Rd. is charged with first-degree larceny by Darien police, who accused her of embezzling $820,000 from the National Veteran Services Fund (Darien Police arrest photo)
Cynthia Tanner, 52, of Stanton Rd. is charged with first-degree larceny by Darien police, who accused her of embezzling $820,000 from the National Veteran Services Fund (Darien Police arrest photo)
At least $830,000 contributed to the National Veterans Services Fund over the past five years was embezzled by the organization's bookkeeper, who spent it on her auto loan, airfare and vacations, according to Darien, CT police who arrested her Monday.

That $830,000 figure is only an initial estimate of money stolen from the organization's bank account over the past five years through fradulent checks, police said. Tanner also stole money with one of the organization's credit cards, according to police.

Cynthia Tanner 52, of Darien, had worked for the NVSF since 2008 and was stealing from the organization since at least 2009, according to police.

"In 2013 alone, Tanner wrote 135 unauthorized checks for over $185,000 to herself and to her family members," Darien Police said in a statement released Monday morning. "According to the financial ledger that Tanner fabricated, these checks were written to veterans or clients of the NVSF."

She was arrested on a warrant charging her with first-degree larceny, a felony, solely for checks she wrote out in 2013, according to police, who said further arrest warrants are expected to charge her with more crimes.

Tanner, a resident of Stanton Road, turned herself in to Darien Police on Monday morning, June 2, and appeared in state Superior Court in Stamford the same day. A judge doubled her bond from $250,000 to $500,000, according to a report in the Stamford Advocate.

Darien police were told in late May that an accounting firm had discovered irregularities in the organization's financial statements.

"It was quickly determined that [...] Cynthia Tanner had been utilizing the organization’s funds for personal use," police said in the announcement.

NVSF is a non-profit organization based in Darien which accepts donations to help veterans and their families across the country.

"Tanner's responsibilities included payroll and the disbursement of funds to the charity’s clients," according to the Darien police announcement. "Through investigation it was determined that not only was Tanner writing unauthorized checks to herself, but that she was writing numerous checks to relatives also drawing off of the NVSF accounts."

The National Veterans Services Fund has received some notoriety over the years for the small percentage of money collected that actually goes to veterans — only 7.8 percent on average from 2002 to 2011, according to the Tampa Bay Times, which ranked NVSF the 8th worst in the country in 2013.

Last year, the Hartford Courant reported on the Charity Navigator website naming the NVSF one of the "10 Consistently Low-Rated Charities". According to the Courant, President Phil Kraft of Darien said he  "wishes fundraising costs didn’t deplete 80 percent or more of the millions donated, but says he and his crew lack the resources and expertise to raise money on their own."

According to the Courant, Kraft mades a six-figure salary from the charity, headquartered in a small house on West Avenue in Darien.

 

 






chuck June 03, 2014 at 10:11 PM
Let her keep books in AFGHANISTAN while she makes restitution. I think that would be suitable punishment.
Daniella Ruiz June 04, 2014 at 04:43 AM
awww, poor lady, Darien is one of the most expensive areas of the high tax state to exist in. she was just doing what she could to survive, live in the style of life she knew others were enjoying, off other peoples generosity and scams. steal from peter to pay paul, no big deal, happens all the time, didn't we know that? whats really amazing is the foundation itself gets away with preying on the genuine desire to help the vets, and siphons off most of the donations to fatten up the non-profit owners, administrators and their families (spouses/children/best buds/etc) as 'employees and others' on the payroll. (like boards of directors who attend a meeting and get a nice plop of money for just being there). this lady is a straw sacrifice, a mere distraction from the true crime being perpetrated by the non-profit.
Kathi Kroll June 04, 2014 at 07:18 PM
Kevin..you are ridiculous..the Republicans got us here and finally digging out.....Chuck..I got you!..I agree ..send her sorry self to the war zone...awful woman who should not have had that job...as someone said...a Veteran should have had that job from NOT Darien...come on..those scammer are ludicrous....making money and giving only a fraction to the Vets....ok..done for now..just saying...Kathi
Cosmos June 04, 2014 at 11:22 PM
RIGHT ON Kathi.........................

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