Sometimes the choices we make just don’t add up. Take the case of Sister Marie E. Thornton, a former vice president of finance for Iona College and a nun. Sister Thornton was recently arrested on charges of embezzling more than $1.2-million from the Roman Catholic college over the course of 10 years.
What? Yep…that’s right. Arrested for embezzlement. According to published reports, Federal prosecutors collaborated with the Department of Education in bringing the charges, which were announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan in a news release.
According to the news release, Sister Thornton allegedly diverted college funds for her own use by turning in false vendor invoices for reimbursement and submitting credit-card bills for personal expenses to the college.
Iona College, in a statement, disputed the size of the theft, calling the $1.2-million figure “significantly inaccurate.” Sorry, but I have to ask, is this just another attempt at a cover up by the Catholic organization? In my personal experience, rarely have I seen the US Attorney’s office dramatically inflate the size of a crime. But this might just be a bunch of nun sense anyway…
The college, located in New Rochelle, N.Y., had previously disclosed that it had fired an unidentified employee for misappropriating approximately $80,000 a year over a decade. Another employee thought to have been involved in covering up the fraud was also fired.
Iona said that it had taken immediate action after discovering a year and a half ago that an employee had misappropriated funds, and that it had conducted a follow-up investigation and put preventive procedures in place. The college also said it had recovered most of the missing money but declined to comment further.
Sister Thornton served as Iona’s vice president for finance and administration for roughly a decade, and she previously was assistant to the president for five years, according to the college’s financial documents. She holds a doctorate in educational administration from Fordham University and previously spent time as a teacher, a principal, and a deputy school superintendent.
With credentials out the wazoo…what do you suppose would motivate Sister Thornton to take such actions? And, how do you suppose she was able to rationalize her behavior?
If you know Sister Thornton – please comment and lets establish a dialogue related to my questions above.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!