The Truth Comes Out: Former Director Admits to Stealing $600k from Children’s Nonprofit

What kind of person steals $600,000 from a children’s nonprofit? Apparently, the director of health and information management does.

In September of 2016, prosecutors charged 50-year-old Sonja McQuillar with embezzling more than $600,000 from Northern Children’s Services. McQuillar was the former director of health and information management at the Philadelphia-based nonprofit. Prosecutors say she used fake invoices to pay family members, friends, and contractors for work they did not do.

On Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, McQuillar admitted that she stole the funds.

According to news outlet, McQuillar forged signatures in order to cash checks and pocket money. Documents show that the theft took place over the course of 12 years, from 2002 to 2014.

McQuillar was brought up on charges of theft and making false statements to authorities. She pled guilty on both accounts. Her attorney, Jose Luis Ongay, has yet to respond to requests for comment.

The news is expected to have a huge negative impact on Northern Children’s Services, which has already had trouble securing funds in the past. Due to McQuillar’s indictment, the nonprofit could lose valuable corporate sponsors, such as Ikea and the Philadelphia Eagles. And that’s not to mention the inevitable risk of losing out on donations from the public as well.

But according to Bob Carlson who oversees regulation of nonprofits at Missouri’s attorney general office, nonprofit organizations can bounce back from embezzlement scandals. Carlson says it’s how nonprofits respond to embezzlement that makes all the difference in the world.

“Embezzlement happens,” Carlson explained. “Over the past few years, my colleagues and I have consistently told numerous nonprofits they need to do more to penalize embezzlers. I don’t know why organizations fail to take enough action against someone who just ripped them off. But all too often, state attorneys general have had to inform nonprofits that they need to do more.”

So what does he suggest? Three things: report the embezzlement, punish the offender, and get the stolen money back.