Catholic group finds funds missing from client accounts

July 16, 1999|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

An administrator for a Catholic Charities program that assists senior citizens in managing their affairs, including their finances, has resigned after an internal investigation showed funds missing from clients' accounts.

Officials from Catholic Charities, the social welfare arm of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, said they became aware on June 10 of irregularities in the Social Security accounts of several clients.

The accounts were managed by Wanda Wilson, a program administrator for Catholic Charities' Congregate Housing Services, which provides meals, homemaker services, personal care and case management to eligible elderly residents of five senior citizen residences run by Catholic Charities and three privately owned complexes.

Wilson, a Catholic Charities employee for a decade, was suspended immediately and resigned after the internal probe, according to a statement from Catholic Charities. Wilson could not be reached for comment.

The amount of money missing has not been determined, but if the allegations are substantiated, Catholic Charities said it will reimburse the victims.

A Catholic Charities spokesman said he could not comment on the specifics of the case because it is under investigation. But he said a system of checks is in place for financial transactions.

"Our system is set up so that more than one person must sign off on any financial transaction," the spokesman said. "For example, a person requesting a disbursement can't be the person who authorizes the disbursement."

The Adult Protective Services Division of the Maryland Department of Human Resources was involved in the investigation, and the matter has been turned over to Baltimore police, who are conducting an investigation, Catholic Charities said.

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