Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Former Field Museum Employee Enters Embezzlement Plea

The Chicago Tribune reports that Caryn Benson, a former data records supervisor for Chicago’s Field Museum, has admitted in federal court to embezzling in excess of $400,000 from the Museum.  In the plea agreement that she has entered, Benson admits to having embezzled approximately $33,014 of the Museum’s funds in 2014, as well as $376,986 in funds between June 2003 and January 1, 2014.  The government contends that the total amount embezzled exceeds $900,000.  For purposes of sentencing, the plea agreement provides that “[e]ach party is free to present evidence and argument to the Court on this issue [i.e., the actual amount embezzled]” and that the defendant will pay restitution in an amount ultimately determined by the court.  


According to the Tribune piece, Chief Marketing Officer for the Museum, Ray DeThorne, believes that $903,000 was embezzled, an amount “confirmed in the Field’s own audit and in one conducted by the museum’s insurance company before it made restitution to the museum, less a $10,000 deductible.”  DeThorne is also quoted as saying that the Museum “has since put into place much stricter oversight over cash transactions.”  




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