Staff report written from press release
Indianapolis, Indiana – October 8, 2023
Teresa Maners, a 64-year-old resident of Spencer, Indiana, was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud. The sentence comes after she embezzled over $326,000 in donations from the Indiana University Foundation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Indiana made the announcement on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.
Maners had been employed by the Indiana University Foundation as a Depositor and Payroll Deduction Associate since 1988. The foundation is responsible for maximizing financial support for Indiana University through private donations and on-campus fundraisers. As part of her job, Maners was entrusted with recording cash and checks received from donors and preparing them for deposit into the foundation’s bank account.
Court documents revealed that over the course of nearly four years, Maners engaged in a systematic scheme to steal charitable donations meant for the foundation. She pocketed cash donations before accurately recording them in the foundation’s accounting systems. To cover her tracks, she withheld checks from the daily deposits and substituted them in a later deposit to conceal the missing cash. Additionally, Maners wrote checks from her personal bank account to make up the discrepancies between the substituted donor checks and the stolen cash, a fraudulent practice known as a “lapping scheme.” With her control over the cash recording process, Maners was able to manipulate the accounting records to appear balanced, while siphoning off the stolen donations.
The embezzlement came to light in 2019 when the foundation conducted an external audit and discovered accounting irregularities. Maners was confronted and admitted to her illicit activities.
U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers remarked, “For years, this defendant abused her position of trust to line her own pockets and steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable donations from a foundation dedicated to advancing important educational programs in our state. Our office and the FBI are dedicated to identifying criminals who steal from and defraud our charities, businesses, and government organizations and holding them accountable. The federal prison sentence imposed here demonstrates that financial crimes cause serious harms and merit serious punishment.”
FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton stated, “Charitable organizations like the Indiana University Foundation count on people in positions of trust to act in the interests of the organization and its mission rather than taking advantage of their position for personal gain as the defendant did. The FBI will continue to identify and investigate those who choose to commit fraud and enrich themselves at the expense of others.”
The FBI conducted the investigation, and the case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Corbin Houston. U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson presided over the sentencing and ordered that Maners be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for two years following her release from federal prison. She was also directed to pay restitution in the amount of $326,334.64.