News

Warrant issued in philanthropy embezzlement

Former Silicon Valley Community Foundation employee suspected in $100,000 theft

An arrest warrant was issued Dec. 24 for a former Silicon Valley Community Foundation employee suspected of stealing $100,000 from the organization, according to the Mountain View Police Department.

Police spokesperson Steve McCoy said he could not give out any more information until the former employee, Frances Louise Stewart, 52, was arrested.

On Monday the foundation announced that it had fired an employee on suspicion of embezzlement.

"Our finance department noticed a discrepancy and they began trying to figure out what was going on," said Rebecca Salner, vice president of marketing and communications for the nonprofit, located in Mountain View on El Camino Real near Showers Drive.

An internal investigation was launched and less than a week later the case was turned over to the Mountain View Police Department. Stewart worked in the foundation's human-resources department, Salner said.

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"The theft was identified by our finance department as a result of internal controls and we intend to pursue every possible remedy to ensure that restitution is made to the community foundation," CEO and President Emmett D. Carson said in an e-mail.

"The incident remains under investigation by external authorities and the community foundation is engaging a forensic accountant to provide further assistance as needed," a statement on the organization's Web site read.

The statement emphasized that the money taken was from "flexible spending accounts" that are used for employee health care and dependent care expenses. The monies were not budgeted for any philanthropic grants or programs.

Any money that is not recovered will be covered by insurance, the statement said.

The Community Foundation oversees donations to numerous local nonprofit organizations and in 2008 awarded $264 million in grants.

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Warrant issued in philanthropy embezzlement

Former Silicon Valley Community Foundation employee suspected in $100,000 theft

by Kelsey Mesher / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Dec 28, 2009, 3:11 pm
Updated: Tue, Dec 29, 2009, 5:08 pm

An arrest warrant was issued Dec. 24 for a former Silicon Valley Community Foundation employee suspected of stealing $100,000 from the organization, according to the Mountain View Police Department.

Police spokesperson Steve McCoy said he could not give out any more information until the former employee, Frances Louise Stewart, 52, was arrested.

On Monday the foundation announced that it had fired an employee on suspicion of embezzlement.

"Our finance department noticed a discrepancy and they began trying to figure out what was going on," said Rebecca Salner, vice president of marketing and communications for the nonprofit, located in Mountain View on El Camino Real near Showers Drive.

An internal investigation was launched and less than a week later the case was turned over to the Mountain View Police Department. Stewart worked in the foundation's human-resources department, Salner said.

"The theft was identified by our finance department as a result of internal controls and we intend to pursue every possible remedy to ensure that restitution is made to the community foundation," CEO and President Emmett D. Carson said in an e-mail.

"The incident remains under investigation by external authorities and the community foundation is engaging a forensic accountant to provide further assistance as needed," a statement on the organization's Web site read.

The statement emphasized that the money taken was from "flexible spending accounts" that are used for employee health care and dependent care expenses. The monies were not budgeted for any philanthropic grants or programs.

Any money that is not recovered will be covered by insurance, the statement said.

The Community Foundation oversees donations to numerous local nonprofit organizations and in 2008 awarded $264 million in grants.

Comments

Rumsfield
Stanford
on Dec 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm
Rumsfield, Stanford
on Dec 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm

What is the budget for this charity? They seem to be swimming in cash. And their staff gets such good benefits that a missing $100,000 is only a "discrepancy".


Hmmm
East Palo Alto
on Dec 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm
Hmmm, East Palo Alto
on Dec 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Rumsfield - relax! This is a major crime & is being treated as such. Picking apart this article is useless - word is this is a major investigation, as it should be. As much as organizations like to keep insider job such as this hush hush, word got out & they decided to make the news public.

While this org. does do well, why do you think they're swimming in cash? The missing money comes from employee-related pre-tax funds.


John the Man
Mountain View
on Dec 28, 2009 at 7:58 pm
John the Man, Mountain View
on Dec 28, 2009 at 7:58 pm

It'll be interesting to see how this story plays out. No mention of a time frame in which that money was stolen. It wouldn't surprise me if it was stolen over a matter of years.

Somebody's going to jail for awhile!


Outside Observer
another community
on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:05 pm
Outside Observer, another community
on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Lucky for them they are in Mountain View.

Otherwise they would get a PAPD (Childrens theater) investigation.


cieboy
Barron Park
on Dec 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm
cieboy, Barron Park
on Dec 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Sadly this is more common then you think with organizations that do not maintain good internal controls. It is a shame that this person stole like this but the egg is in the face of their auditors for not tightening the internal controls to avoid it's occurence.


Rumsfield
Stanford
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:37 pm
Rumsfield, Stanford
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:37 pm

The perp has been identified as Frances Louise Stewart, who is now on the run. Anyone know this person?


Rumsfield
Stanford
on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:05 am
Rumsfield, Stanford
on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:05 am

Please post a photo of the crook so we can lookout for her.


Enough
Palo Alto Orchards
on Dec 30, 2009 at 11:30 am
Enough, Palo Alto Orchards
on Dec 30, 2009 at 11:30 am

Wow. I can't understand crimes such as embezzelment. How stupid to screw up your life taking what is not yours.


Rumsfield
Stanford
on Dec 30, 2009 at 9:39 pm
Rumsfield, Stanford
on Dec 30, 2009 at 9:39 pm

The Mercury-News reports that the crook has been nabbed while hiding out in Redwood City. No news about what happened to the $100K. Web Link


stool
St. Claire Gardens
on Dec 31, 2009 at 2:19 am
stool, St. Claire Gardens
on Dec 31, 2009 at 2:19 am

it was the ice cream lady


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