CBC Fifth Estate program on David Reiner

On October 1, 2008, CBC Fifth Estate aired a program called “Disappearing Act” about David Reiner, an accountant who is accused of embezzling nearly $1 million from 21 daycares across Toronto. Before Reiner was arrested by the Toronto Police in June 2008, he spent two years living in Africa, mostly in Kenya and Uganda.

Stephen Lewis was interviewed for the program because at one time David Reiner worked as a consultant bookkeeper for the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) and, when Reiner sought refuge in Africa, he falsely claimed to still be affiliated with the Foundation.

We wanted to clarify Reiner’s history with SLF:

  • David Reiner worked as a consultant bookkeeper for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. We terminated his services in October 2005 when it became clear that the software programs he used - and his skills - were not sophisticated enough to match the growing needs of our organization.
  • One year after the Foundation stopped working with Reiner, news broke that he had fled Canada for Africa and had allegedly stolen close to $1 million from 21 daycare centres in Toronto, some of whom had been his clients for 18 years.

    No funds were taken from SLF. Several audits have been undertaken since Reiner stopped working for us and all have confirmed that our funds are secure.
     
  • SLF later learned that Reiner falsely represented himself regarding his association with the Foundation. While in Africa, he approached grassroots organizations working on HIV/AIDS and indicated that he could secure funding for them given his close ties with SLF. As soon as we heard about this, we alerted all of the organizations we work with in Africa, as well as our African Field Representatives. We explained that Reiner hadn't worked with us for over a year and that he had no ties to SLF, nor did he have any influence over our funding decisions.

We hope that justice will be served for the daycares who lost funds. It is shocking and deplorable to learn that someone would steal from daycare centres, or prey upon the good graces of grassroots organizations in Africa who are struggling to help those affected by AIDS and are in desperate need of accounting expertise to run their organizations.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Foundation at 416-533-9292 or 1-888-203-9990 ext.0.

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