Starting out

An intern's front-row seat to fraud

This former intern learned firsthand about fraud when her boss and mentor, the senior accountant, was arrested for embezzlement and credit card fraud. The author helped discover the crimes at the nonprofit business.

On March 5, 2018, I walked into my office at a nonprofit company expecting a normal day. I wasn’t prepared for what would transpire. I’d arrived at a crime scene and saw my coworkers shedding tears of anger and betrayal. I learned my supervisor, the senior accountant, had been committing fraud for more than four years.

I had been with this nonprofit since April 2017. My official job title was “junior accountant,” but I really was just the intern as I completed my accounting and criminal justice studies. My job responsibilities included reviewing journal entries and small-business cash receipts, and reconciling the company’s credit card monthly. I reported directly to the senior accountant whom I considered my mentor.

In 2012, the company hired Sarah Sharp (not her real name). She began in a temporary accounting position through a staffing agency. However, in one previous job she’d stolen $14,000 from one client and in another job misappropriated funds with that company’s credit card. So, why did the company hire her?

This is where the story really begins.

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