Approximately $317,250 were embezzled from the Furman University Student Activities Board’s budget between FY2015 and FY2019, according to a forensic audit conducted by junior Accounting major Andy Fastow. “Something seemed off with the budget…. those little succulents and free posters couldn’t possibly account for the whole thing,” Fastow wrote in his Instagram post detailing his audit. “So, I started looking into it.” What followed was a month-long review that Fastow completed with the help of Professor Bernard Madoff of the Accounting Department.
Fastow and Professor Madoff found consistent spending with two catering companies, “Palmetto Pastries” and “Eastern Easley Eateries”. “But when we started looking at [the Security and Exchange Commission's online database of business records] EDGAR, we couldn’t find a single filing for either of them,” Fastow explained in his post. “No employees, nothing!... they’re shell corps.” Indeed, the Horse was able to confirm Fastow’s claims about lacking records - we could find no 10-Qs, 10-Ks,1040s, or anything else confirming the legitimate existence of these businesses.
Even more apparent, the companies had been hired to provide food at a variety of events “that never happened,” according to Fastow. As he explained to us when we reached out, “Take this one event - Snacks at the Stadium. Palmetto was paid $2,300 to cater it on Thursday, October 19th of 2017. But FUSAB didn’t talk about it on their Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, and I haven’t found any records of it happening. The books add up, though, so that money went somewhere!”
Fastow says he found nearly 150 events across the 5 year period that followed this same pattern. “‘Dancin’ with Dins’ in April of 2018, ‘Cookies in the Circle’ in September of 2016, ‘Pal-entines Popcorn & Treats’ in February of 2019 - dozens of them, always scheduled, always paid for, always hiring Palmetto or Easley, but never actually happening.”
Fastow tells the Horse that he and Professor Madoff plan to “look at [FUSAB’s] budget for last year and this year when they let us have them, but they haven’t been willing to give them up yet…. If we find out that the money stolen was even higher, the Horse’ll be the first to know.”
When asked for a comment, FUSAB President Elizabeth Holmes invited the Horse’s writers to discuss the matter at Peddler Steakhouse. When we declined, she informed us that we shouldn’t be worried, because “as of today, I can confirm we aren’t hiring either of those companies any more.”