The company that I worked for effectively had two branches – the for-profit business and the not-for-profit foundation. Each branch operated with very different business practices due to the fact that there are so many more stipulations required to be followed to maintain not-for-profit status with the Canadian government.
The master manipulator liked to spend money. She especially liked to spend money that wasn’t her own. And, knowing just how closely the fondation’s financials were tracked, the master manipulator had a plan to skirt the system so that she always had money to spend.
Each month she would invoice the foundation, on behalf of the for-profit branch for various ‘fees and expenses’. These fees and expenses were different each month, so the invoice would be for a different total dollar amount every time. The invoice would also be dated for different date each month. This way, if the totals were different and the dates were different, it would be less likely to look as though it was a recurring fee the foundation was paying that she would need an excuse for.
She even took it a step further as to deposit the funds into different company bank accounts each month to ensure that no department noticed regular funds incoming from the foundation.
Now, all not-for-profit foundation’s have expenses. It’s just a fact of life. Even if it’s as simple as banking fees, there are always expenses. That being said, what should not be happening with a foundation is excess expenses. The bulk of donations that a foundation is accepting should be being turned around to be distributed to those in need, right? Right.
Every month, the master manipulator was hiding an expense. Every month. And because she’d manipulated all of the men in the office into believing she could do no wrong, it was easy for her.
Here’s an example of how she did it:
Every July the company hosted a banquet to raise money for the foundation. Every rich friend or acquaintance of the company would be invited in hopes they would open their wallets and donate large sums of money to the foundation.
One July our guest speaker was a famous Canadian television actor. This actor’s agent let us know that his speaking fees was $7,500 for a regular event by a for-profit company, but if the event was to raise funds for the foundation (which ours was) he would speak at the event for $2,500. This was his way of helping to keep the foundation’s expenses as low as possible so that more money could be given to those in need.
The master manipulator signed contracts agreeing to pay the actor $2,500 for speaking at our event. Then, the master manipulator went to the CEO and told him that the fee for this actor to speak was $7,500. And, because she’d been manipulating the CEO for years and he believed everything she said, he didn’t even blink an eye.
Then she would invoice the foundation on behalf of the company for $7,500. Because foundation policy stated she was not allowed to sign-off on her own invoices, she would then use her management powers to force me into signing off on the $7,500 invoice, knowing that I well knew exactly what we were actually paying this actor.
$7,500 would be transferred out of the foundation’s bank account and into a company bank account under the guise that she was paying the actor $7,500. She would then e-transfer the actor’s agent $2,500 and put $5,000 onto her company credit card, thus increasing the balance of her company credit card by $5,000 for that month.
With an extra $5,000 on her company credit card, she could do whatever the fuck she wanted. Working lunch, every damn day? Sure. A penthouse suite at the hotel they were hosting the banquet at… rather than a regular hotel room? No problem. A new dress for the banquet because, as the hostess she needed to make the best impression? Get it girl.
If anyone ever noticed how much she was spending, or how she always seemed to be spending more than the limit provided to managers of the company, she would simply… buy them something too. I remember with respect to this particular banquet that this particular actor spoke at, another manager questioned her purchase of a $1,000 Alexander Wang dress ‘for the event’. Suddenly, that manager was invited to the banquet, and she’d bought him a new suit for the event because, as a representative of the company, he needed to make the best of impressions with her.
That’s how she worked. She manipulated everyone.
Some months it was a couple hundred dollars. Some months it was $10,000 plus dollars. Every month, though… every month she had a reason why money needed to be transferred out of the foundation and into company bank accounts where she knew it wasn’t subject to audit. Because, when the money wasn’t monitored with a fine tooth comb, when it wasn’t subject to annual audit, she could do what she wanted with it, and at worst, would be subject to coming up with a haphazard excuse to give to a CEO who already believed everything that she said.
This story is in follow up to ‘The master manipulator’. Click here to read >