Moral obligation to report embezzlement?

Do I have a moral obligation or on the other side would it be a sin to report embezzlement of funds from a relatively small charitable organization? I do some work for this charity and am in a position that I may lose my job which I enjoy if I report but also may be accused of concealing it if I don’t as I am in a position to see it. This person is very nice and may very well need the monies but again all of us might be able to say the same as charities are not known for their high salaries…Any help would be appreciated…

As hard as it may seem, I’m leaning towards reporting it. :shrug:

Yes, you have both a moral obligation to report embezzlement from a charity to the proper authorities.

I can’t see how you would lose your job for reporting a theft, unless it’s the person who signs your paycheques who is stealing the money.

Keep a diary and note down everything you see and hear, the times, etc., as well as any other evidence you become aware of. And yes, report it - at least to the person’s supervisor. Your donors expect your organization to be accountable for every penny they donate. and they are particularly unforgiving in cases of embezzlement.

report this as fast as you can

Yes, you have a moral obligation to report this activity. The sooner you report it the better.

Are you certain it is intentional and not a mistake?

Yes it is intentional. Any one transaction is small but it has been going on for a few years and now the total is very large. I have been distressed by this for some time. I am not sure why it feels like a sin to report. Perhaps it feels like a sin in that if I am not fired for not having reported it sooner I may be in a position to get that job if that person is fired. The person is of retirement age but has a wife and home to support. I also struggle with the idea of sin because at times I am angry as this person makes substantially more money than I do for what seems to be not much more work and I struggle financially. I am also angry because other than this I like this person. Does my anger and possible benefit make it a sin or still a moral obligation?

Your possible benefit doesn’t change the need to report this. As long as it’s proveable, it needs to be reported.

I am not sure why you are confused by this. Or why you think you are sinning? Go talk to your pastor if you have moral confusion on this.

This person is stealing from a charity and you know about it. You have a moral duty to report it. If you have known about it for some length of time and did nothing, then yes you may have something to confess-- so go talk it over with your pastor.

I think about it as sin because I am angry about it. Also I see a certain amount of waste in spending at the charity that also angers me. I believe in the mission of the charity and am a huge advocate regarding our fiduciary duty in the use of our funds. Sounds hypocritical to me also that I have let this go on. I have been afraid of losing my job as I was new at the time when I first saw this and could not afford to be unemployed. Also this person has been a huge advocate for me in progressing in my opportunities and outreach at our organization. Thank you everyone for your help. I will pray for discernment…I do not want to report out of anger but moral duty. My anger extends to this person also for putting me in this position.

Yes, as others have noted you do have a moral and legal obligation to report it.

In regard to the person being “nice”, note that prudence, justice, restraint (temperance), courage, faith, hope, and love (charity) are all virtues, however, “being nice” is not a virtue. Being nice is often a false reflection of character. The original meaning of “nice” was being stupid or being foolish. Through the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may the seven virtues lead you to report this person who was nice enough to embezzle.


Let’s try to use a similar hypothetical situation.

Your neighbor (A) witnesses another neighbor (B) stealing items from your garage a few times a month, and says nothing. (B) is extra nice to (A) and (A) likes (B) a lot, you have no known problems with (B), and the neighborhood doesn’t seem to have any problems with (B). But you need the items (B) stole.

Neighbor (B) needs to be held accountable for the thefts. Neighbor (B)'s personal needs or personal situation is irrelevant, which is why I didn’t list any possible personal needs or situation.

Neighbor (A) is also wronging you by not telling you and by allowing the thefts to continue.

You are wronging your organization WhiteOnyx. The person embezzling the funds needs to be reported, and should be held accountable, no matter his personal needs or personal situation, and no matter how “nice” he can be. You would not be responsible for any suffering he might endure after being reported, he brought that on himself by choosing to steal. You do share some responsibility for the organization’s lost funds.

Doesn’t your organization have a code of ethics, requiring employees to report abuses of authority and other egregious conduct?

I think it’s only natural to be angry about someone embezzling funds from a charity. I’d be surprised if you were not angry. That doesn’t mean you don’t report it.

Every poster is agreeing (which doesn’t happen often :p) that you need to report it. That should tell you something.

Of course you should report it but you better be darned sure that you are correct about it before you do. If there is any chance you are mistaken, don’t do it until you are sure.

what’s your position in the charity and how good is your proof? you might have a legal obligation to report it.

Embezzlement is a legal term that can only be arrived at by a judge and jury. Since you are neither, you still have an obligation to report any wrongdoing. Slander is also a crime.
The Christian thing to do is confront the fellow Christian with what you know. If that is fruitless, then his superior. That’s as far as your obligation extends.
Here is where the naive Christian turns it over to the holy spirit and let’s God take control.

Our annual audit will begin in a month or so…I am going to give my thoughts to them and let them know where to look. They are in the best position to investigate and determine if it is in fact embezzlement. Thank you everyone. This has been very difficult for me.

That’s a great idea, WhiteOnyx. But if it were me, I would not wait until they start the audit to inform the investigators. Why not do it tomorrow?

“Dear Ms. Smith, I understand that you will be heading our organization’s annual audit due to begin in June. I have some concerns about a coworker’s use of company funds and would like to speak to you about them at your earliest convenience. The position that this employee has put me in is a difficult one and I’m conflicted about my responsibility toward him, but I also feel strongly that you should know about it. Please let me know your availability. Sincerely, WhiteOnyx.”

this person is being “nice” to you to make sure you shut up and look the other way. see it all the time.

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