Former employee of Institute of Marine Biology may have embezzled $ 800,000


A former employee of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Moss Landing, Calif., Allegedly embezzled about $ 800,000 from the institution in nine years.

MBARI first noticed evidence of embezzlement during an independent audit about a month ago, spokesman Kim Fulton-Bennett said. The external auditor noticed several transactions that did not appear to match the records, MBARI chairman Christopher Scholin said. As to why this could have gone on for nine years without notice, Scholin said the transactions were all relatively small and occurred in accounts that tend to fluctuate significantly from month to month, like payroll.

The institute issued a statement on this subject: “The transfer of funds in question appears to have been designed to benefit one person and does not in any way compromise other MBARI employees (past and present) or endanger them. MBARI operations. “

MBARI reported the case to the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office on September 17, who will now handle any criminal investigation. It is not known who the employee is and what his job was at the institute, but Scholin said the person left MBARI before she noticed evidence of embezzlement.

MBARI is a private institute with an annual operating budget of approximately $ 40 million which employs approximately 220 scientists, engineers and administrative staff. It is a sister institution of the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Monterey Bay is a hotspot for biodiversity in the United States and MBARI mainly focuses on research in marine biology and geology, for example using robotic rovers to explore the 11,000-foot Monterey submarine canyon. of depth, which extends off the institute. MBARI was founded in 1987 by David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard.

Image: MBARI in the late afternoon. Joe deluge/ Flickr

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