Non-profit organizations, especially fraternal clubs such as the Masons, are rarely victims of white-collar crimes because they do not have the assets that might make them lucrative targets. By the same token, such organizations do not always keep tight control over their finances. As if to prove that such crimes occasionally happen, the Shelby County District Attorney recently announced that a resident of Mid-South was indicted for embezzling more than $1 million from the United Supreme Council, a non-profit Masonic fraternal organization.
According to the indictment, the defendant was hired by the organization in 2012 as a building manager and an IT specialist at the group’s headquarters on Airways Boulevard. Two years later, he allegedly gained access to the organization’s bank accounts. He is alleged to have written payroll checks to himself totaling $264,000 between November 2014 and April 2015. His annual salary was $32,000.
The defendant is also alleged to have used the club’s credit and debit cards without permission and to have made unauthorized electronic transfers of the clubs money to his personal account. He is further accused of using the club’s funds to make unauthorized purchases of various goods and services, including $240,000 for tickets to Memphis Grizzlies basketball games. An audit of these accounts revealed several withdrawals made at local casinos.
A grand jury indicted the defendant on a charge of felony theft in excess of $250,000. The crime is a Class A felony that carries a potential sentence of 15 to 60 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000. The defendant is currently free after posting a bond of $100,000.
The charges in this case are very serious. Anyone facing similar accusations may wish to consult an experienced criminal attorney for an evaluation of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of negotiating a favorable plea agreement.