Catholic charity community reviewing their practices after embezzlement arrest

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Leaders in Northeast Wisconsin’s Catholic charity community are reviewing their practices after an embezzlement scam.

Sixty-year-old Donna LaRue is accused of stealing over $500,000 from the Society of St. Vincent De Paul in Sheboygan County.

"My hometown is in Sheboygan County, so it hit home even a little more,” Executive Director for Green Bay Society of St. Vincent De Paul Bill Gosse. "I didn't get angry, but I was sad and felt bad for them that this took place."

Gosse was stamping the mail for the charity.

He said this is one way they avoid thieves in the workplace.

"So I open the mail and then I pass it on to our prospective bookkeeper who will create certain entries into Quickbooks to be able to guard against what may have taken place in Sheboygan,” Gosse said.

At the Green Bay location there's enough staff to separate duties, something Gosse said the office in Sheboygan County lacks.

"They don't necessarily have as many staff people to be able to separate duties according to accounting principles like we do,” said Gosse.

Investigators said LaRue was using signed checks to pay for things like her rent.

Signatures on checks were needed from board members when donations were made.

However, some members signed blank checks if a donation was needed over the weekend, and LaRue was supposed to deliver the check to the church.

Since St. Vincent De Paul is a Catholic charity, Gosse hopes this does not have a negative influence on their outreach.

LaRue is scheduled to appear in court early next month. If found guilty she could face a maximum of 12 years in prison.

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