I know a woman who volunteered for a (non-jewish) school, she handled the budget reports to the district, the principal had a practice where if the budget wasn’t to a certain amount, he would tell her items to add just to get the budget higher. For example, if she was reporting to the district that they need paper-$50, glue-$50, but the school wanted to have lets say $200 to work with, he would tell her to add pencils-$100 even though they weren’t going to buy them.
At first she had completely no idea, she just wrote down the items the principal told her, but after a while she started to suspect that something “unkosher” was happening, but still she was uncertain. Eventually she told me and I told her I think they are defrauding the district, and she stopped doing those reports for them, Baruch Hashem. My question is, does she owe any money? If so, should she pay from the beginning, or just from when she began to suspect?
She also got a small “gift” payment from the principal each month that came out of those stolen profits, which she continued to receive even after she knew it was from stolen money, does she have to pay that back, and if she does, does she have to pay all of it back or just after she knew? Thank you so much Rabbi, I hope my question is clear.
Thank you for your question.
As you correctly stated, the principal was stealing from the district, and the volunteer is not allowed to help him steal, therefore it is good that she stopped filling out these reports. Regarding returning the stolen money, she is not obligated to return anything to the district, as she is not the one who stole the money from the district. Additionally, the halachos of v’ehishiv es hagezeilo don’t apply here.