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Milford Rotary Club Treasurer Accused of Embezzling $235K from Nonprofit

Milford man allegedly used the funds for personal gain.

The treasurer of the Milford Rotary Club was arrested Wednesday after a forensic audit allegedly showed he embezzled more than $235,000 from the nonprofit group over the past 18 years. Credit: Patch File Photo
The treasurer of the Milford Rotary Club was arrested Wednesday after a forensic audit allegedly showed he embezzled more than $235,000 from the nonprofit group over the past 18 years. Credit: Patch File Photo

Updated 3:15 p.m. Dec. 12

Spokesman for Milford Rotary Paul Mangels says allegations that the group's former treasurer embezzled more than $235,000 from the nonprofit has shaken members "to the core," many who knew the man for 30 years.

"I think the message has to be we're 100 people doing good," Mangels said. "It's important we communicate we're still alive and well."

Mangels said it would be "unfortunate" if the community's conception of Milford Rotary turns on this incident.

"We ended up being in a place we never thought we'd be," he said.

Mangels said new procedures are in place to better warn of any future financial malfeasance. He said he plans to share these initiatives with other rotaries in the area.

Milford Rotary meets tonight. At the request of Milford Patch, Mangels said he will draft a statement on behalf of the group concerning the alleged embezzlement.

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Our original report follows.

The treasurer of the Milford Rotary Club was arrested Wednesday after a forensic audit allegedly showed he embezzled more than $235,000 from the nonprofit over the past 18 years.

Richard Weir, 66, of Snug Harbor Road, is accused of misappropriating funds in the amount of $211,000 between 1995 and 2008, and in the amount of $25,000 between 2008 and 2013, Milford police spokesman Jeff Nielsen said Thursday.

Weir used the funds for personal and business finances, police said the months-long investigation, which started with a complaint from the group itself, revealed.

Police said further information was developed that linked Weir to a misappropriation of funds at two additional non-profit groups where he served as treasurer: Milford Special Olympics and The Milford Club.

The Milford Club audit calculated $19,000 in diverted or stolen funds, police said. The Milford Special Olympics audit found misappropriated funds in 2012 in the amount of $3,500, which were later returned this summer, police said.

For the alleged crimes, Weir was arrested on three warrants Wednesday that charged him with first-degree larceny, second-degree larceny and third-degree larceny.

The 66-year-old Milford man was released from police custody after posting $20,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Milford Superior Court on Jan. 7.

Milford Rotary spokesman Paul Mangels tells the Connecticut Post that the alleged thefts went unnoticed for years because they "were done very creatively.

"But in June," Mangels tells the paper, "there was an opportunity to see the checkbook, which was not usual, and we found some suspicious notations."

No Milford Rotary projects were adversely affected by the misappropriations and the group plans to seek recovery through insurance and a civil lawsuit, Mangels said, according to the Post. Additionally, the club has implemented new safeguards to protect it against future financial malfeasance.

The newspaper reports that Weir works as an accountant downtown at the firm Discenza & Co.

The report adds that he "was immediately removed from the treasurer's post that he'd held since 1995 and he resigned from the Milford Rotary a short time later."

"What would it take to change the world?" reads the first sentence in the about section on the Milford Rotary's website. "Rotary's 1.2 million members believe it starts with a commitment to Service Above Self."

Grumpy Old Man December 12, 2013 at 12:16 PM
It's ashame that we see an article like this and our response is , what else is new .... Typical . Snug harbor rd .. Nice area , take his house , sell it and recoup your losses .
donna rindos December 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM
I can't believe the the Rotary Club doesn't conduct internal audits on a regular basis.
Ralph Harrison December 12, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Recoup the money then - tar, feather and run out of town on a rail
Gary Tobin December 12, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Donna, I asked myself the same thing. I'd like a more detailed account on where the money landed and if anyone else has been implicated. $211,000 between 1995 and 2008, 13 years. That's an average of $2743.00 a year. $25,000 between 2008 and 2013 that's 5 years of the most current members and affiliated groups and people. That's on average, $5000.00 a year. I’d say, follow this story here and on other media resources diligently.
Gary Tobin December 12, 2013 at 02:21 PM
I know the Special Olympics and The Rotary Club, what is The Milford Club?
Diana Nytko December 12, 2013 at 04:53 PM
The Milford Club, is a private mens club, not exactly sure what they do in the way of volunteer work, but it has been around for a long time. As for Rich Wier, I'm shocked and can't understand how he, or anyone in his position would do that to such good organizations, and humiliate his wife like this.
RONALD M GOLDWYN December 12, 2013 at 05:24 PM
I am currently the Treasurer of the Milford Lions Club after serving as its Secretary for many years and earning the title of Secretary Emeritus. I also served as Secretary for many years as Secretary of the Great Neck Lions Club in New York, prior to moving to Milford. I state my background so readers will understand that I speak from experience. Their are many fine folks who give both time and money to work as part of a service club to serve not only the distressed of Milford, but the rest of the world. This news headline saddens me, because their Treasurer is accused of stealing funds that was destined to aid others less fortunate. While officers of non-profit organizations can be bonded, it still does not prevent a person from embezzling funds that come into their hands. All that bonding will do is make the organization whole. Almost all similar organizations require their treasurer to make a report at every meeting stating the income and expenditures of all funds coming into its custody. It could be funds from members paying their dues or from fundraising chairmen who turn in the results of their activity. In this case we learn that a professional accountant is accused of larceny and this was because he left a paper trail that could be traced. My father once told me that only honest people can embezzle money, because a crook is never put in a position to embezzle funds. My original Masonic Lodge had 40 CPAs that were part of the Audit Committee and each year they turned in a certified audit. One year they could not find an error of two cents, so I threw two pennies on the table to balance the books. The chairman would not accept the coins, he had to find the error before he would sign off on the report. It is my hope that local residents will continue to support the fundraising activities here in Milford, so that we can continue do much to make our world a better place to share.
jabatti December 12, 2013 at 08:46 PM
I haven known Richie Weir for a long time. To steal from a non-profit is awful. Audits should have been done more frequently. He better lose his job as an Accountant- Milford residents: Remember Mama Bears? The cute little baby shop downtown where SBC is? that was his Better check all those bank accounts & local investments firms- he was a very frequent customer. Obviously not investing his own money!! Don't let him off easy....
liz December 13, 2013 at 06:58 AM
People don't realize the damage that they do to their family and friends, and those that entrust them. It is usually an addiction. That's not an excuse. My prayers to his wife and family. They like the charities, are the victims.
Linda Creedon December 13, 2013 at 09:25 AM
I know both Rich and Wendy. They are good people and yes, Rich made a huge mistake that he has to take responsibility for but where was Rotary and the Milford club's system of checks and balances. Did no one in 13 years do an audit? They are complicit in this mess as well!
Concerned December 13, 2013 at 10:27 AM
There are a lot of people who know the Weirs and have done business with them. To try and place some blame on the Rotary club is unbelievable. The goal of the Rotary club is to provide for those who are less fortunate and to give to charity. They are also an organization that believes in trust. While they may have been a bit lax in how they audited their books, there is no way that this is an excuse for Rich. Oh well, the Rotary club never checked on him while he was tooling around in his Porsche, so it's their fault he stole $250K. Unbelievable.
Fake Name December 13, 2013 at 10:41 AM
@Linda: I guess if you get robbed it's partially your fault for having something the robber really, really wanted...
CB December 13, 2013 at 11:10 AM
I appears the Club asked for the investigation, so I assume they thought something was up. Lets wait and see what happens next.
Tmc December 13, 2013 at 09:52 PM
I wonder, as he is an accountant, how many other clients he stole from? Can't just be one, right? What a douche to do this to a non-profit. Just shameful.
RONALD M GOLDWYN December 14, 2013 at 11:42 AM
Richard Weir is only charged with larceny and is presumed innocent at this time. I will await the outcome of a trial. As I previously said, we only let honest people control our funds, so that it is not unusual for one person to be treasurer in many non-profit organizations at the same time. What makes a person steal from a charity or for that matter any organization is the real question. Are they in a desperate financial situation? Do they steal because it is easy to do so? Do they really think that no-one will ever discover their crime? Willie Sutton the famous bank robber of the last century was asked why he did so? His reply was, "That is where the money is". The next question is, How much money is enough to tempt you? A famous lawyer in cross-examining a woman ask her would you go to bed with me for $100? She immediately replied no. He asked, for a $1,000, again she replied no. Again he asked for $10,000, this time she delayed her answer of no. The lawyer then replied, madame we now know what you are, all we are doing is haggling over the price. Are we haggling over the price? With more days in my past than in my future I only look to how I can help others rather than myself. If punishment is to be meted out, I only hope it is in the form of restitution without harming any of the innocent.
Concerned January 02, 2014 at 08:20 AM
Is there a divorce brewing as well? Rumor on the street is that his wife filed for divorce. I wonder if this is to protect assets and put them under her name, or if she is really leaving him. You have to wonder if she was aware of what was going on.
Gary Tobin January 02, 2014 at 12:35 PM
Concerned - I now nothing and then less then that but my guess is Mrs. Weir did not know or choose “not to know”. It’s unconceivable for 18 years the finances in these clubs were not safeguarded from malfeasance, 18 years is a long time. I believe there is one, if not more, Milford Rotary Club / The Milford Club associate(s) that have full knowledge of these misappropriations or redirection of funds. Why are the breakdowns of misappropriated funds between two time frames ($211,000 between 1995 and 2008 / $25,000 between 2008 and 2013)? Are these dates noteworthy to the present clubs’ regime or maybe a certain political party or person(s)? Maybe the two separate time frames are significant to elections? I think everyone can build their own conclusions when the trails of explored. I think a nonaligned investigator will uncover 18 years of tangled webs woven. Follow the paper trail and the final resting places of the money and we’ll see the money tree of shame.
Tmc January 02, 2014 at 10:56 PM
I think Gary and Concerned make very valid points...
Concerned January 07, 2014 at 09:23 AM
The report states that a court date for today was set. I wonder if this will be settled and over with. I hope that we get to see an update as to what transpires.
Concerned March 21, 2014 at 08:13 AM
Anyone know what is going on here? What is the latest, or has this just gone away.

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