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In Million-Dollar Theft Case, Church Worker with a Secret Past

An employee of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York has been arrested and charged with embezzling over $1 million from the organization over a seven-year period. Prosecutors say that 67-year-old Anita Collins used her job in the accounts payable department to write nearly 470 checks from the archdiocese for personal expenses. Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said Collins was confronted about the missing money in December after an annual audit raised red flags. When Collins was hired in 2003, no criminal background check was conducted, which would have revealed her past of a grand larceny conviction and a guilty plead to a misdemeanor. In fact, unbeknownst to the archdiocese, Collins was still on probation when she began working. Following the discovery of the alleged theft, the Archdiocese of New York has begun performing additional reviews of financial procedures and oversight. Collins, who has confessed to stealing the money, faces as much as 25 years in prison if convicted on the charge of first-degree grand larceny.

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