Officials with Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center say a former employee is accused of taking more than $1 million from the organization. The former employee's name has not been released, but officials say the money was taken over the last five years.
The discovery of the alleged theft comes just months after Woodruff's new president and CEO Virginia Hepner took the helm. Hepner said at a news conference on Tuesday that the accused former employee, who began working at the Woodruff Arts Center in 2004, worked in the administrative office but was not employed in the finance department. The former employee resigned on October 31.
Hepner says she launched an internal investigation on November 1 after another employee came to her with concerns over suspicious invoices. Over the next three weeks, Woodruff staff worked with independent financial experts to review over 1,000 invoices covering several years, and also interviewed personnel and vendors. Hepner says in all, they confirmed that $1,438,000.00 was taken over the past five years.
Hepner and board chairman Larry Gellerstedt call this a serious administrative oversight, but they assure patrons they are taking steps to ensure something like this never happens again.
Investigators did not release the former manager's name, citing the ongoing police investigation. They say they know who submitted false invoices for payment, and they have notified that person that they will likely face charges in connection with the alleged theft.
The case has been turned over to the U.S. Attorney's Office.