Employee of the Joint Church Council in Trondheim suspected of gross embezzlement
An employee of the Joint Church Council in Trondheim is suspected of having tapped the council for a seven digits sum of money. The police have initiated a criminal investigation. The embezzlement was discovered only recently.
The Joint Church Council (Kirkelig fellesråd) in Trondheim writes in a press release that they have been the victim of a grave economic fraud / embezzlement of their financial resources.
– The Council has found that we are talking of a seven digits sum of money. We can not provide the exact amount as we are still investigating the scope, the Council states.
The Joint Church Council work together with their auditor, bank, computer systems supplier and the police in the ongoing investigation of the issue. The organization announces that the police have initiated criminal proceedings.
– Our review so far has revealed that the fraud is carried out by a single employee who has successfully constructed fake invoices and manipulated the payment systems and the ledger. We can safely state that no other employees have been involved. As we, and the aforementioned parties view it today, we have not had the possibility to uncover this at an earlier time, the Joint Council states.
The Joint Church Council describes the matter as a personal tragedy for the employee, stating that the fraud has been a major strain to the closest colleagues.
Several of the amounts have been ranging between NOK 70 and 80,000 in total per invoice, writes Adresseavisen.
– It has been very professionally looking invoices where the names of companies listed in the Brønnøysund Registers (Central Register of Norwegian Companies) are used. The unfaithful employee has however used private account numbers. We have not detected the deviations and it is surprising to us that it is possible to operate in this way without any alarm bells ringing. The person has managed to deceive all control systems. We need to get help from our bank to find out how he has been able to do so, says Administrative Director, Kjell Inge Nordgård, to the newspaper.
According to Nordgård, the employee was revealed when the police and the Economics Crimes Unit (Økokrim) detected money transfers to several different accounts allegedly belonging to the companies issuing the invoices. Transfers are found dating back to March 2016, but the largest amounts were tapped late in the autumn of 2016 until early in 2017. The unfaithful servant was apprehended by the police on March 9th, 2018.
Does not affect day to day operations
The management of the Joint Church Council has been informed of the matter from the word go, and the issue has also been discussed in a dedicated meeting. The Trondheim municipality and the Nidaros diocese are also informed of the matter in separate meetings.
The Council states that despite that the fraud is considered to be large, the potential financial loss will not affect daily operations and activities.
Nordgård worked on Friday to inform all of the organization’s 150 employees of the situation.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today