The Bay Area Food Bank (BAFB) recently took a financially hard hit after an employee misused three fuel credit cards belonging to the nonprofit organization.
“It appears four or five different pumps at the same station were being used at the same time with a single card,” BAFB Executive Director Dave Reaney said. “Between midnight and 1 a.m., a single hour, on Sunday morning, one fuel card was used over 22 times to pump over 700 gallons at a single gas station. In the five hours before Derry Glenn was caught, one card had been used 53 times at the same station with at least 15 purchases exceeding 50 gallons.”
A second card was then used at four different gas stations, totaling another 58 uses, with at least an additional 10 purchases of more than 50 gallons of gas, he said.
“It was incredible,” Reaney said. “They definitely had help, and they were well organized.”
The Mobile Police Department arrested 21-year-old Ricky Glenn on June 30. Glenn’s cousin, 21-year-old Derry Glenn, was also arrested for using one card in the amount of $595. Glenn was not employed by the food bank.
According to a MPD press release, Ricky Glenn received cash payments at area gas stations in exchange for charging gas on the stolen cards.
Glenn, who was hired as a temporary, seasonal employee to drive for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), was charged with first degree theft and 20 counts of fraudulent use of credit card, all felony charges.
The SFSP, a program initiated by the BAFB each year as part of the federal summer lunch program, reaches over 140 sites including the Boys and Girls Club, the Young Men’s Christian Association and church summer programs. The SFSP serves thousands of children each day and reaches as far as Butler, Monroeville and Evergreen, in addition to sites closer to Mobile.
Because the program expected to deliver over 250,000 meals to several thousands of children throughout the summer, extra drivers were hired to handle the daily deliveries.
“The SFSP is an important part of our community and our operations here at the BAFB,” Reaney said. “This program has been in operation for 10 years and during this time, we have hired hundreds of part-time employees to help us carry out the mission of feeding children in Alabama.”
According to Reaney, Glenn participated in the interview and training process required for all BAFB drivers, which included a four hour training session covering SFSP driver program paperwork, warehouse rules and policies, SFSP policies and BAFB employee paperwork.
Glenn’s mother, who is employed with the BAFB, helped him get the job.
“She was totally shocked,” Reaney said. “She basically used her good name, having worked with us for four summers.”
Because of their short-term employment, summer lunch drivers are not issued credit cards. Regular, full-time BAFB employees are issued credit cards with fixed dollar limits. The cards also have limits on types of purchases based on the employee’s duties, Reaney said.
Regular fuel cards used by BAFB have a limit of two uses per day, but according to Reaney, the limits were lifted in order to fill SFSP vehicles with gas since the fuel cards designated for that particular program had not yet arrived.
Fuel credit cards are assigned to each vehicle and the driver is required to put in a mileage reading at the pump before fueling in order for mileage history on the vehicle to be tracked.
According to Reaney, each fuel transaction gave an error message stating, “invalid odometer reading,” but the men were still allowed to continue pumping gas.
Van keys and fuel cards are stored in the driver’s “route binder,” which are picked up and turned in daily. Reaney said another BAFB employee discovered the missing cards from their designated folders.
“They were only in use for a little over a one week before being taken,” Reaney said. “We were totally surprised that the summer cards blended with the regular driver’s cards with no daily limit. In hindsight, we should have checked. We’re also surprised that fuel cards appear to have none of the usage safeguards in place for a traditional credit card. From my experience, a credit card showing even a little unusual activity has generated an alert, yet these cards were used over 100 times in a single day with no notice by the card issuer.”
In the initial investigation, the total loss to the organization was expected to be $8,000-$15,000, but the number has since increased.
“We discovered about $47,000 in fraudulent charges on our fuel card invoices, all within less than a seven-day period,” Reaney said.
The BAFB’s yearly fuel expense usually totals about $200,000.
The organization’s loss may be covered under the Consumer Protection Act like a personal credit card, Reaney said. If not, the BAFB has insurance coverage for theft and employee fraud covering up to $100,000 in losses.
Reaney said an event like this has “never happened” in the 10 years SFSP has been in operation.
“We are extremely disappointed in Ricky Glenn’s actions and the example he has set as a son, father and citizen of Mobile County,” Reaney said. “Our organization strives to provide more meals to children each summer and increase our economic impact through hiring drivers, kitchen staff and warehouse staff.”
The investigation is still ongoing.