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December 15, 2015

Field Museum Worker Allegedly Stole $900,000 in Member Fees

Federal authorities are investigating an alleged theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from Chicago's Field Museum by a former employee who collected money for memberships at the door, according to the Chicago Tribune. The natural-history museum disclosed the loss in a tax filing earlier this month in reply to a question on whether it discovered a "significant diversion" of assets during the tax year.

Museum officials said the staff member, who has yet to be charged, pocketed $900,000 over seven years by issuing temporary cards to people who bought memberships as they entered but failing to report or turn over the payments. The worker was terminated when the museum discovered the scheme in April 2014, said Ray DeThorne, the Field's chief marketing officer. The investigation is being carried out at the federal level because the museum receives U.S. government grants, he said.