One of the nation’s largest predominantly African American fraternities has fired a top executive for allegedly embezzling more than $1.4 million to feed a gambling habit, and now federal authorities are investigating, according to court papers filed this week.
Curtis D. Anderson, 57, of Claymont, Del., had been employed for more than 20 years as the finance director for Kappa Alpha Psi, which has its national headquarters on North Broad Street.
But between June 2017 and last month, authorities say, he cashed more than 87 checks drawn on the fraternity’s accounts in his own name and those of five other individuals, who he told bank tellers were fraternity employees.
Anderson purportedly confessed to the theft after Santander Bank flagged his unusual transactions and alerted his bosses, U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents said in papers seeking a judge’s authorization to search his former office.
Just two days later, John Burrell, the fraternity’s executive director, and Thomas Battles, its president, spotted Anderson trying to duck out of a bank branch as they arrived to discuss their missing money with bank officials, the search warrant affidavit states.
Battles called Anderson on his cell phone and asked him to return. Once he did, he allegedly admitted that he had stolen the missing money.
“Anderson explained to Burrell and Battles that he had a gambling and drinking problem, and that he had spent most of his money at Harrah’s Casino,” authorities said in court filings.
As of Thursday, Anderson had not been charged. Investigators said in their filings that they continue to investigate possible crimes, including wire and bank fraud.
Anderson, a Kappa Alpha Psi member since 1981, could not be reached for comment Thursday, and it was not clear whether he had retained an attorney.
Delaware court records show that New Castle County police arrested him in November on charges of driving under the influence. Those charges are pending.
In a statement released Thursday, Burrell avoided mentioning Anderson by name but acknowledged the federal investigation and that an employee had been terminated after discovery of financial “irregularities.”
“The fraternity is also conducting a thorough review of its financial operations to continue to enhance oversight and prevent a similar situation in the future,” he wrote.
Founded in 1911 at Indiana University, Kappa Alpha Psi has more than 700 chapters and more than 160,000 members, including former Philadelphia Mayors John F. Street and W. Wilson Goode Sr.