A nonprofit charity in Austin, Texas has been victimized by an employee who embezzled thousands of dollars from the charity despite the criminal background report in the charity’s possession the entire time!
Lisa Dorhauer was hired on as an administrative assistant by Lutheran Social Services of the South (LSS) which primarily services disaster victims, the elderly and children.
Once situated, she began submitting phony expense reports to provide a cover-up for her theft over a period of two years in which she stole an amount close to $46,000. Definitely not chump change.
Dorhauer’s pre-employment screening was conducted by the Texas Department of Family and Child Protective Services (TDFCP) which determines if job candidates are a threat to children.
Court records turned up two prior theft charges and were provided to LSS, stapled to the back of her report. In 1994 she had pled guilty theft by check for to writing over 100 bad checks to a range of businesses over several years. In 1999 she was charged with misdemeanor theft charge for stealing over $3,000 from the Round Rock Kiwanis Little League. She was sentenced to probation in both cases.
But the LSS neglected to even review the report detailing these charges leaving them totally unaware of Dorhauer’s criminal background. It wasn’t until LSS became suspicious that they looked at the TDFCP criminal background report which had been in their possession since 2007.
Dorhauer was arrested on June 6th and presently remains free on a $15,000 bond while awaiting trial on charges of felony theft.
LSS spokesman, Scott Carroll, said in a statement, “I think this is an isolated incident of one person who stole from the agency. The agency still does a lot of good work. We provide services to a lot of people who need it.”
But it raises the question: if there was one individual whose criminal record went unnoticed for so long, might there be other Lisa Dorhauer-types employed at the LSS?
Since the incident, the LSS has initiated a review of over 1,000 employees staffed at locations in Texas and Louisiana. Carroll would not comment on whether additional employees with criminal records had been uncovered.
Changes in policy now require all background reports to be reviewed by the agency’s chief operating officer.
Running a background check on a potential employee provides an employer with information allowing for informed hiring decisions. However, information on an applicant won’t do you a whole lot of good if you don’t review it.
Failure to do so and you might find yourself the victim of the next Lisa Dorhauer!