In Million-Dollar Theft Case, Church Worker With a Secret Past
Colleagues praised her quiet dedication and hard work, and noted that she prayed often; her volunteer work at an event at St. Patrick’s Cathedral won mention in the church’s newspaper, Catholic New York. No one, then, questioned the hundreds of checks she wrote at the archdiocese to cover small expenses, like office supplies and utility bills.
On Monday, the woman, Anita Collins, 67, was charged with embezzling more than $1 million over seven years from the archdiocese.
Prosecutors in Manhattan said she did not live lavishly. But at her modest home in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx, a particular interest of Ms. Collins’s became apparent: expensive dolls.
Detectives emerged from her three-bedroom apartment on Monday carrying boxes filled with personal effects: 17 or 18 were labeled dolls, many from the Madame Alexander catalog; about three more were labeled bears. And when a postal service carrier walked by, she noted the volume of mail and packages that the family received.
“They get packages like no tomorrow,” she said.
Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said Ms. Collins was confronted about the missing money in December after an annual audit raised red flags. She was fired, and the archdiocese referred the matter to the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr. [more]