More Fraud in East St. Louis

It’s been a month or so since the last scandal broke in East St. Louis so this story from the Post Dispatch came as really no surprise.

Apparently, with “safe guards in place”, a “beloved and trusted” employee from the East St. Louis Community Development Program has embezzled over $300,000 and probably much more:

The Community Development Block Grant Organization, commonly known as CDBG, is a nonprofit organization that was contracted by the city and approved by federal authorities to ensure such mishaps would not occur in the future.

Diane Bonner, executive director of the program, said she went to great lengths to restore trust.

“I was told there was a problem where some money should have been paid for a home repair and they asked to get a copy of the check. It wasn’t until the next day when they (CDBG employees) came to my office did I begin to understand,” Moore said.

What she was realizing was the possibility one of the most beloved and trusted employees from the Community Development Block Grant Program embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from a fund earmarked for persons who can least help themselves.

The smartest and savviest person with the most critical eye has to replay the scene repeatedly to follow the trail:

* A file is created for someone supposedly getting his or her house repaired. Allegedly, all the proper invoices were in the file along with a copy of the check to pay for the services.

* Check No. 100 to Anonymous Construction Co. seems legitimate. Instead of Check 100 made out to Anonymous Construction going to the bank, another check with the same check number is issued in the name of SCU, which are the initials for Scott Credit Union. The checks were then reportedly deposited into the employee’s personal SCU account. Strangely enough, the individual only wrote the account number on the back of the checks for endorsement and never signed her signature.

Shortly upon the exit of IRS agents from City Hall, the office makes another discovery…

At the end of another long day and losses totaling more than $300,000, one of the workers explains to Moore a similar pattern has emerged with the name of another financial institution, Metro East Credit Union, that could be linked to the same individual.

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