Bookkeeper Stole $830K from Veterans Organization: Police

The bookkeeper of a national veterans organization is accused of stealing more than $800,000 from the organization and using company credit cards for her personal airfare, vacations, and Internet purchases. 

Cynthia Tanner appeared in court on Monday, where bond was set at $500,000.

In late May, the president of the National Veteran Services Fund called Darien police to report embezzlement after an accounting firm discovered irregularities in the company’s financial statements, police said.

The National Veteran Services Fund released a statement saying they worked with their CPAs after the audit revealed issues, contacted an attorney and met with Darien Police. 

"The matter is in the hands of the authorities for action and therefore we have no further comment at this time," and e-mailed statement from Phil Kraft, executive director of the fund, says.

Investigators said Tanner is accused of embezzling more than $830,000 from the organization’s checking account alone over a five-year span.

The charges, however, are just for what she is accused of embezzling in 2013. Police said Tanner is accused of writing 135 unauthorized checks in 2013 for more $185,000, made payable to herself and her family members. 

Tanner had worked for the National Veteran Services Fund since 2008 and was responsible for payroll and disbursing funds to the charity’s clients, according to police. 

The fund, based in Darien, accepts donations to help veterans and their families across the country and used the money to pay for wheelchairs, scooters and ramps for veterans.

They have also paid utility bills for veterans and their families in danger of homelessness, as well as provided temporary housing.

The fund has also provided veterans with snow tires, dentures and a veterinary bill for a veteran’s companion animal. 

Police said Tanner is accused of writing checks from the fund to pay herself money she was not entitled to, as well as checks to relatives. 

However, she fabricated the financial ledger to indicate the checks were written to veterans or clients of the fund, police said.

Tanner turned herself in to police on Monday.  She has been charged with first-degree larceny. She  was being held on a $250,000 court-set bond, but that amount was doubled. She is due in court on June 30. 

Her attorney did not comment on the allegations and said he needs more time to speak with his client. 

Tanner was arraigned in Stamford Superior Court on Monday and is due back in court on June 30.

Police said more charges are expected.

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