Salvation Army blew it with con man
IF SOMEONE in the Salvation Army in Hawaii had taken a few seconds to Google Timothy Janusz before he was appointed "Planned Giving Director," they would have found out he was a convicted felon who ripped off $2 million from a bedridden 88-year-old Colorado woman.
Thanks to the Internet, you no longer have to hire Sam Spade to dig up dirt on potential hires, but a lot of people and organizations don't seem to know that.
Are you telling me that a large organization like the Salvation Army doesn't have anyone who knows how to surf the 'Net? Is no background check done on the guy who will be in charge of soliciting millions of dollars in securities, property and estate contributions?
Janusz was arrested last week for allegedly stealing at least $150,000 from the Salvation Army by manipulating large estate-type donations. No one at the Salvation Army seemed to know that not only had he ripped off the woman in Colorado and been sentenced to seven years in prison, but that he escaped and was later captured in the Caribbean.
I TYPED "Timothy Janusz" into the Google search engine and the second story (No. 2 !) out of 405,000 entries detailed Janusz's Colorado caper. It took all of 15 seconds to learn this guy was a convicted con man.
Further Googling disclosed some cruel irony about his relationship with the Salvation Army. The Summer 2004 edition of "Kekoa," the organization's newsletter, led off with a story on protecting yourself from identify theft. The first line of the story: "Imagine losing everything you have in the blink of an eye." Three pages later, was a pitch by Tim Janusz to turn over everything you own to the Salvation Army.
Even more poignant was Kekoa's Spring 2006 lead story, headlined: "Disaster brings out the best in people." Whoops. Not always.
Timmy's behind bars now on $1 million bail. His bachi and bad karma for taking advantage of the generous, the needy and the infirm apparently finally have caught up with him. We can only hope Hell has a particularly heinous pit waiting for this lovely human being.
But organizations, particularly charitable ones, need to be a little swifter on checking up on who they hire. Goodwill is great, but even the business of charity is business.
As the old saying goes: Trust everybody, but cut the cards. And Google those knuckleheads handling all the big bucks.
, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail email@example.com