CHURCHES IN THE UNITED STATES SPENT ABOUT US$35 BILLION on missionary work in 2014. But they lost far more than that — US$39 billion in fact — to theſt, most of it via inside jobs. That startling news comes from Brotherhood Mutual, an insurance company specializing in non-profits. And Lisa London, CPA and author of Using Quickbooks Online for Small Nonprofits and Churches, acknowl- edges the losses and recommends that non-profits — be they parish councils, Boy Scout troops or PTAs — take far more care handling finances. London’s tips: have two people handle the money, whether at a fundraiser or a regular meeting, ensure the person in charge of the bank account doesn’t have access to donor records and regularly compare financial results to a budget. — Peter Carter


Beware cyber- pyramid sales FACEBOOK CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG’S wife, Priscilla Chan, has not launched a skin-care venture and neither is Sean Hannity’s mate, Jill Rhodes, selling a miraculous plastic-surgery alternative. But certain websites would have you think otherwise; and those same sites will be happy to take your money so you can supposedly make big bucks off these online snake-oil pitches. What you’ll probably wind up with is a basement full of fake elixirs and a monthly debt to the scammers. The US Federal Trade Commission is on to these schemes but so far has only dealt with the tip of the iceberg. In the meantime, on the off chance you find any of these blatantly obvious come-ons enticing, read the fine print. Then do yourself a favour by typing the website’s name and “scam” into Google. — PC


Are your mate’s pants on fire? ONE IN THREE PEOPLE who combine finances with their significant other lies about it — to the significant other, that is. According to a survey conducted by in conjunction with the Denver-based National Endowment of Financial Education, 31% of people who say they share finances with their partner hide money, open secret accounts, lie about how much they owe and how much they make. For example, of those 31% nearly three in five say they hide cash from their mate. Also, women are more likely than men to say their partner lied about finances; and finally, 16% said the financial deception ultimately led to divorce. If you’d like to know more about the perils of pretending, see nefe. org/Press-Room/News/Admitting-to- Financial-Deceptions. — PC


Fleecing clients in New Zealand AN UNQUALIFIED New Zealand “tax agent” who claimed to be a chartered accountant has been sent to jail for four years for tax fraud and theſt. Between 2013 and 2016, Pranesh Nandan operated Nesh and Jay’s Accounting Professionals Ltd. and filed 68 false GST returns, resulting in refunds of NZ$652,064 getting deposited into accounts he controlled. Also, he took almost NZ$300,000 that his clients deposited with him under the impression they were paying off tax obligations, spending it on fancy cars and lavish vacations. In total, Nandan defrauded the government and his clients of NZ$937,370. When confronted by revenue investigators, Nandan admitted that he had made up the figures in the returns and knew it was wrong to steal clients’ money that was earmarked for tax. — PC

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