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Woodruff Arts Center: $1.438M embezzled | News

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Woodruff Arts Center: $1.438M embezzled

ATLANTA -- Woodruff Arts Center leaders announced Tuesday morning that a former employee had embezzeled $1.438 million over five years.

"An individual was able to find a weakness in our internal controls that allowed them to perpetuate this and only come to light in the last month or two," Woodruff Arts Center Board Chair Larry Gellerstedt, III said at a press conference.

"We believe the person acted alone and submitted fraudulent invoices for payment," said Woodruff President and CEO Virginia Hepner. "As we were properly processing outstanding invoices, it came to our attention that they didn't look appropriate."

While Woodruff officials believe the former employee, a mid-level manager, acted alone, the blame was shared. "It clearly was a failure not just of an individual but of processes and oversites," Gellerstedt said.

"Everybody is accountable for this," Hepner said. "The most important thing to us is to understand what happened, get on it immediately, to bring in experts to make sure we didn't have a bigger problem."

In addition to bringing in external finance experts, the Woodruff is handing information over to the U.S. Attorney.

The Woodruff will seek insurance coverage for the nearly $1.5 million loss.


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