Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Canadian Library System Embezzler Sentenced to Jail Time

Rather unbelievably, the head of a Saskatchewan library branch seems to have stolen something between $500,000 and $1,000,000 from a group of rural libraries for which he was responsible. Bruce Cameron, 65 years of age, admits to bilking the system of $500,000 over a 14-year period but others believe that he stole much more than that.

According to The Canadian Press:
"Only a person of good reputation can continue a crime like this," said Singer. "That's why it is such a significant breach of trust."

Court officers placed the grey-haired Cameron into handcuffs and led him into custody.

Crown prosecutor Gary Parker described the scheme as "sophisticated and elaborate."

He said Cameron set up a fake company called Desert Rose Books based in Carson City, Nev.

Cameron ordered books that didn't exist, then pocketed the money.
Arlene Pederson, the new president of the library board, said outside court that nearly $1 million actually went missing while Cameron was employed. But officials could only prove the half million was stolen.

She said she had always respected Cameron and believed he had the library's best interest at heart.

"To find out that he had done this to us, there was anger - extreme anger," she said.

Cameron was fired from his job after returning from one of his many Mexican holidays in 2004, said Pederson.
What strikes me in this case, as it always does when this kind of thing happens, is why someone of authority didn't notice that so much money was being spent with nothing to show for it. Why is it that so many businesses and government agencies fail to notice that they are leaking money until it is too late to recover much of it, much less in time to ever determine exactly how much has gone into the wrong pockets?


  1. I was shocked to find that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is just now requiring that each parish have an outside auditor review the finances every year. Shouldn't that just be standard practice for any organization where money is involved?

  2. That kind of thing really is scary, factotum, considering how much pure cash goes through the hands of so many "counters" every week in large churches of all stripes.

    Having been an auditor for a few years, I know how easy it is to catch this kind of thing...if anyone cares enough to pay for the audit.

  3. There's a special circle in hell for people who bilk libraries, of all things.

  4. Pay for the audit and put in a few controls. Two signatures. No rubber stamping.

    It always amazes me the myriad ways people find to line their pockets.

  5. I agree, Dream's almost like stealing from a church, isn't it?

  6. Pretty simple, isn't it, Carrie? Of course, any two people can combine to beat the system up to a point...but a good auditor will catch that trick, too.