An Oregon weekly newspaper has had to lay off its entire staff and halt print after 40 years because its funds were embezzled by a former employee, its editor said, in a devastating blow to a publication that serves as an important source of information in a community that, like many others nationwide, is struggling with growing gaps in local news coverage.

About a week before Christmas, the Eugene Weekly found inaccuracies in its bookkeeping, editor Camilla Mortensen said. It discovered that a former employee who was “heavily involved” with the paper’s finances had used its bank account to pay themselves $90,000 since at least 2022, she said.

The paper also became aware of at least $100,000 in unpaid bills — including to the paper’s printer — stretching back several months, she said.

  • Ech
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    347 months ago

    Isn’t this why a lot of companies have essentially mandatory vacation for their accountants? Gives a baked in reason to have another set of eyes on the practices of the department.

    • @[email protected]
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      7 months ago

      A company large enough would have internal auditors so that would probably be unnecessary. But best practice is to have segregation of duties and layers of authority, so that no one person has too much power. (source, am an auditor)

    • [email protected]
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      137 months ago

      In some countries/provinces it’s actually legally mandated. The idea is that if someone is committing fraud there will be a period where it isn’t committed, to help make the fraud discoverable. Those mandatory vacations are also often when audits happen, both internal and by government.

    • Subverb
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      77 months ago

      My corporate bank requires their management to take at least one two-week vacation a year so that any schemes they might have running fall apart.

    • claycle
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      7 months ago

      I worked for a medical imaging company that got acquired many years ago. The CFO was a nice enough guy, with the perfect blonde wife, huge suburban house, matching Lexuses for him and missus, and his son was the handsome, curly-headed quarterback with the giant fancy pickup truck (that no teenager NEEDS unless they’re the spawn of cattle ranchers…) at the best high school in the county.

      But, as I said, we got acquired, and the new company sent over a junior-junior (ie, just out of school) accountant to do the boring duty of running the books. Poor kid tried and tried but he just couldn’t get the numbers to add up, so he went to his boss and apologized for not being able to do his first assignment. Boss took a look, cocked an eye, patted the kid on the back for doing an excellent job, and took it to legal.

      Seems the CFO was just writing himself $50,000 checks once a month to fuel his lifestyle and “nobody knew it”. He ended up in the prison, divorced in a hot second, and his former wife and kid skedaddled out of town before the thing even went to trial.