More trouble for Salvation Army as $2M in toys disappear

Matt Coutts
Daily Brew

Two executive directors with the Salvation Army have been fired after separate allegations of toy theft and the embezzlement of $240,000 were announced just days after the charity launched its annual Christmas fundraiser.

Comparisons to Scrooge and the Grinch are inevitable, but they don't seem to do the matter justice.

More than $2 million worth of toys donated to the Salvation Army have gone missing from a sorting facility in Toronto over the course of two years, leading to the firing of the warehouse's executive director and a police investigation.

[ Related: Christmas humbug arrested after telling children there is no Santa Claus ]

The Toronto Star reports that the toys went missing in what appears to be an intricate system of fraud and cover-up. More details are expected to be released Wednesday afternoon.

The toys were donated by the public and meant for underprivileged children facing a barren Christmas. Instead, their whereabouts are unknown. The executive director believed to be involved made a reported $111,215 last year.

The Salvation Army says children won't see a major impact this year since the thefts were spread out over the course of years.

Still, with the charity launching its annual Christmas campaign this week, news that so many toys have been filtered away from those in need was sure to spark an outcry.

Meantime, a Salvation Army director in Ottawa has also been fired after an audit found $240,000 had gone missing from his department over the course of eight years.

[ More Daily Brew: Health Minister under fire over decision to allow generic OxyContin ]

Salvation Army spokesman Maj. John Murray told the Ottawa Citizen that the money did not go missing due to lax accounting, but something far more sinister.

I think what it speaks to is how somebody, if they're driven by greed, if they're driven by a motivation that perhaps none of us can understand ... that's how fraud happens. People, they become sneaky, if you will. They look for a wedge or a little space that they can prey upon people's trust or innocence.

Local police continue to investigate the allegations in both cases and no charges have been laid. And the people those donations and toys were meant to help remain in need.