Who would defraud a kids’ organization? The answer, unfortunately, is that trusted adults sometimes steal from not-for-profits benefiting children. Youth sports leagues and teams, for example, are ripe for fraud. Cash transactions are common, and coaches and board members usually are volunteers with little accountability.

photo taken behind the goalie net, a young boy in black shirt and red shorts about to kick a soccer ball at the young girl goalie, caution to protect youth sports league from fraud

If you or your children are involved in a youth sports league, here’s what you can do to ensure that its funds support the kids, not thieves.


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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneurs Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Nicole Riley, an Audit Senior Manager and one of the faces of PKF Texas’ Not-for-Profit team. Nicole, welcome back to The Playbook.

Nicole: Thanks, glad to be here.

Jen: Now as a CFE I know you talk about fraud – Certified Fraud Examiner. What is occupational fraud, and can it happen in a not-for-profit organization?

Nicole: So occupational fraud really is a fancy word for employees stealing. And yes, unfortunately it does happen in the not-for-profits. The 2018 Report to the Nation by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found the median loss at a not-for-profit was $75,000 per instance.

Jen: Wow.

Nicole: Yeah. It is actually better than the for-profit loss; the median loss there was $164,000, but not many nonprofits that I know can handle a $75,000 loss in their budget, and that doesn’t even consider the indirect impact on their reputation or the loss of donor trust.

Jen:  Right. So, how does fraud happen in a not-for-profit organization? It seems like there’s so few people you’d be able to catch it quick.


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Not-for-profit organizations don’t lose as much to occupational fraud as for-profit businesses do. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE’s) 2018 Report to the Nations, not-for-profits lost a median amount of $75,000 during the 21-month study period, compared with $164,000 for private for-profit companies. Yet few not-for-profit budgets can afford a $75,000 shortfall or the bad publicity associated with fraud.

A photo of grey padlocks on a red metal fence to show why Not-for-Profits need protection from fraud.

Here’s how not-for-profits open the door to occupational fraud — and how your organization can shut it.


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It’s Fraud Week, everyone!

For the week of November 11 – 17, supporters around the globe are promoting anti-fraud awareness and education to minimize the impact of fraud.

There’s a lot of information and resources out there, but what is imperative to know about fraud, how to detect it and what to do if there

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Danielle Supkis Cheek, a director and one of our Certified Fraud Examiners. Danielle, welcome back to the Playbook.

Danielle: Thank you, Jen.

Jen: We’ve done a whole series on fraud, and I’ve heard people say, “Cash is king.” What can companies do to protect their cash?

Danielle: It’s actually… I won’t say “easy” but pretty cost-effective measures that can be put in place. Usually you have to work with your bank and see what treasury management your bank has, but honestly, requesting meeting with your treasury management department at your bank for your commercial banker and they will be able to go through a lot of the options. The biggest one I push is something about ACH protections.

What you need to initiate in ACH… Let’s use a personal example: you go to your online electric bill provider, and they say, “Do you want to pay by e-check?” because that’s cheaper than charging you for the 1-3% they try to charge you. And so, you put in your routing number and your account number – and what’s on every single check you’ve ever issued is your routing number and your account number – and so those checks are out there.

That means your account number is out there, and your routing number is out there. So, you need to protect an ACH, because those monies come out of your account; once they’re gone, they’re gone. Business bank accounts are different than individual bank accounts; individual bank accounts, usually, there’s some consumer protection. You call up, you say, “Hey, I’ve had fraud, and Bank, please give me my money back.”

Jen: And they say, “Oh, okay. Sure!”

Danielle: Okay, sure. Commercial accounts don’t work like that; the money is gone, the money is gone. You can call the police, and they can try to investigate; it crosses international, it crosses state borders – it’s gone.

Jen: It’s gone.


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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Danielle Supkis Cheek, a Director at PKF Texas and one of our Certified Fraud Examiners. Danielle, welcome back to the Playbook.

Danielle: Thanks for having me.

Jen: So, Houston’s an international city—we’ve had Frank Landreneau, one of our international tax directors on the program. There’s a lot of opportunity for fraud. What are you seeing in the international space?

Danielle: One of the concerns with the international space and fraud is actually the existence of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It says you can’t bribe officials, which is a pretty obvious matter for international foreign officials.

Jen: One would think you don’t want to bribe people. So, what does the FCPA actually cover?


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