Police: Woman stole thousands from Austin firefighters non-profit

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The treasurer of Austin’s Auxiliary to Local 975, a non-profit organization for Austin firefighters, is accused of stealing nearly $13,000 from the organization’s accounts.

According to an arrest warrant, Elizabeth Anne Murdough, 28, allegedly took the money sometime between May 1, 2014 and May 18, 2015, during her time as the organization’s treasurer.

On May 18, 2015, Wells Fargo Bank contacted Auxiliary to Local 975 President Kristen Wade, letting her know one of the organization’s checking accounts was overdrawn and another contained a balance of less than a dollar.

When Wade conducted an audit of the non-profit’s finances, it showed Murdough made personal purchases with the Auxiliary’s debit cards and wrote checks to herself from the organization’s accounts, continued in the warrant. The agency says Murdough was not given permission to use any funds for personal use.

Murdough signed a promissory note admitting to theft and promising to repay the funds to the organization. Once arrested, she’ll face felony theft charges.

Austin-based company Mission Capital specializes in helping charities stay ethically and financially smart.

“Unfortunately, many non-profits don’t take the very simple steps they should to ensure that internal controls are in place to prevent fraud and theft,” Matt Kouri, CEO for Mission Capital says.

He recommends the following:

  • Non-profits should require multiple signatures on checks, or at least checks over a certain amount.
  • Organizations could hire an auditor.
  • Groups can separate who is responsible for receiving payments, processing payments, writing checks, and signing checks.

For more information, you can visit Mission Capital’s website here.

We contacted Kristen Wade, the president of the organization named in the search warrant, but she refused to comment.

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