Is the Church Too Trusting?

| March 17, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — The former chief financial officer of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Anita Guzzardi, turned herself in this week to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office on charges relating to the alleged embezzlement of more than $900,000.

She faces charges of theft, forgery, unlawful use of a computer and related crimes.

Guzzardi was promoted to CFO last July, but before even one month on the job, the D.A.’s office alerted the archdiocese to certain accounting irregularities reported to the D.A.’s office by a credit-card company. After a preliminary internal forensic financial investigation by the archdiocese, she was terminated a week later, according to the archdiocese. The archdiocese continued the financial investigation and has shared all of its findings with the D.A.’s office.

“It was discovered that [Guzzardi] had used numerous checks drawn from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia general fund to pay on her two personal accounts,” the D.A.’s statement said. “In total, from 2005 to July 2011, Guzzardi used 184 archdiocesan checks to pay her AmEx [American Express] bills.”

Archbishop Charles Chaput said in a statement, “People are angry about this loss, and they’re right. So am I. There’s no excuse for it.”

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Category: Church Security

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