Skimming off the top

by gambler 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • gambler

    This is an evil idea so be warned. I was just thinking back and it came to me how easy it would have been to steel money from the controbution boxes in the congos I use to attend.Just volontier to clean the hall at the end of every month and skim away.No one would suspect a thing because cntrobutions are annonymous.And if you where in the right position at bethel you could skim some serious cash.And if somehow you ever got caught I think the sociaty would be reluctant to prosacute in a public court cause of the negative press.Anyone else have this bad thought?

  • Scully

    I guess it would depend on the practices in local congregations.

    When my dad was the accounts' servant for his congregation, we had to be the last ones to leave every meeting. He had to collect the receipts from the contribution boxes, plus the magazine and book counters, after each meeting, because the Kingdom Hall was shared with 2 other congregations and the receipts had to be kept separate. Each congregation was responsible to the Society for its portion of the KH expenses. He also had to deposit the receipts in a timely fashion (i.e., next business day) in order to keep things above board.

    I mentioned it on another thread, but there were times when the receipts were not sufficient to even cover the congregation's expenses. At the time, I believe it was averaged out to $4/publisher/month. My dad would make up the difference out of his own pocket. Pretty pathetic that a congregation of 75 publishers couldn't even scrape together $300 in the space of a month. (This was all prior to the donation arrangement for literature, btw.)

    At the same time, there were families going on vacations to Europe or Florida, or Barbados. I know it bugged my dad a lot. His own father quit attending church because he felt there was too much emphasis on collecting money for the church. I wonder if that ever crosses my dad's mind anymore.

    Love, Scully

    It is not persecution for an informed person to expose a certain religion as being false. - WT 11/15/63

  • Gopher

    It would be difficult to steal the money from the hall's contribution boxes, unless you were the accounts servant. They have strict instructions to clear out all the money from the box after each meeting, and leave the box OPEN between meetings. So when the hall is being cleaned, the contribution boxes should be open and empty.

    Then 20-30 minutes before each meeting, they (or someone they designated) would go lock the contribution box.

    GopherWhy shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.
    Mark Twain (1835-1910)

  • Thirdson

    Gopher is right on the procedure. I was told by a CO several stories of stealing from the collection box done via the accounts servant. When I did the accounts I always had my assistant or another brother verify the takings on the day and sign for it. That way when the accounts were audited I had proof that the money banked was as counted. (If I worked with my assistant we could could have stolen money but then again it was a measley small amount.)

    Gopher, thanks for the email and pic.


  • kpax

    It is not steeling. Just taking back what they owe you!


  • avengers

    What you're doing actually is stealing from your own kids and parents.
    The poor brothers and sisters give their last pennies, they get stolen by the WT, and then by the "brothers and sisters". This is not the way!.

  • Simon

    There was a mini 'scandal' in our hall many years ago when the presiding overseer got up to address a congregation matter.

    "There is a slight shortfall in the literature accounts so we just need the congregation to OK making up the balance from the donations ... just a formality really ..." wen the spiel.

    Strangely, no questions were allowed and one brother who raised his hand was pointedly ignored whough others were recognised during the "who's second this" stuff.

    Finally the brother spoke up without being asked: "pardon me BROTHER, but you haven't told us how much the shortfall is?!"


    This was about 20 years ago and I understood that the society used to send a 'free' set of magazines every 6 months or so. Having a shortfall could not be an accident me thinks!

  • RunningMan

    Last year, I was asked to audit the congregations books. This is a procedure
    that is routinely performed every 3 months. Since I am a former accounts
    servant, and also a certified accountant, it is not unusual to be asked to do this.

    However, in this case, the circumstances were a little different. The CO required
    that the audit be performed immediately and completed before he left the
    following day. My PO told me that at their elders meeting, the CO had revealed
    that in his previous circuit, there were two instances of theft by the accounts
    servant. In one case, it was for an assembly hall, and the amount was in the
    $20,000 range. Of course, all of this was kept under wraps, no charges laid or
    any announcement made.

    When you think about it, each CO serves about 20 congregations. If two accounts
    servants were stealing, out of 20, that is a tremendous percentage of dishonest persons.

    It is actually very easy for the accounts servant to steal. Here are some ways:

    1. The procedure is for two brothers to count the money. One will fill out the receipt,
    and the other will witness it. One copy of the receipt goes in the congregations records,
    the other goes into the reports box, to the secretary. It is not unusual to have no
    contributions at a meeting, so often, there is no receipt for every meeting. If the
    accounts servant goes through the normal procedure, then pockets the cash, retrieves
    (or never hands in) the receipt and destroys it, the money is gone and there is no way
    to catch it.

    2. If the accounts servant is good at slight of hand, he can pocket some cash between
    emptying the box and filling out the receipt.

    3. The secretary's copy often sits in the box for weeks. Don't forget that the money
    is done at the very end of the meeting, so the secretary has usually emptied the
    report box and gone home. The accounts servant can retrieve it (remember, he is
    the last one out, and probably has a key anyway), forge a new one for a smaller
    amount (very easy to do), and pocket the difference.

    4. Two brothers in collusion could do just about anything.

    5. Often, procedures are not followed. Contributions come in after the cash is taken,
    receipts are not witnessed, etc.

    And, a host of others. In short, the system relies to a large extent on the honor system.
    It's a pity that there's so little honor among God's chosen people.

    Actually, for all of their efforts, their internal control system is full of holes. Many of them
    could be plugged by simply printing pre-numbered receipts and ensuring that all are
    accounted for. But, that would cost money, possibly as much as a couple dollars per month.

  • ashitaka

    This is horrible, but when I was a kid, teens from my hall used to make a ring around the contribution boxes, like they were just hanging out and talking, and one person would open the contribution box and take the money in it. Apperently, on day a MS left the key in the lock, and the kid took it. That's how they got in. They made off with about 60$ every meeting. They used to joke about it in the back afterwards.

    Back then, I was a punk kid and thought it was a hoot, but then I thought of all the old ladies in the hall who put their pennies towards this cult, and expected the funds to be used for the cult, and probably got spent on baseball cards. Just sad.

    BTW, all the kids involved were elder's kids. Classic, really.



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