Richard MacInnis, 53, who now lives in Florida, pleaded guilty April 5 to 15 counts of embezzlement, as well as two counts of felony larceny during a hearing in the Massachusetts Superior Court in Salem.
The judge on the case sentenced him to two years of probation, and also stated that he must repay $60,000 to the Haverhill Knights Templar.
The prosecutor on the case requested jail time for the defendant, noting that he had used his access to the organization’s charity banking accounts to write checks to himself for over $35,000.
He also accessed online accounts to pay at least $20,000 of credit card bills with electronic transfers. Also, the man transferred money into his own account to cover some of his costs related to real estate transactions.
The total fraud amount is not fully known, because before MacInnis moved to Florida, he destroyed many financial records at the Lodge.
MacInnis also filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection during the thefts but he did not report the stolen money to the bankruptcy trustee. He then was able to buy a condominium in Florida.
The defense lawyer on the case - Boston Defense Lawyer Geoffrey Nathan - urged the judge to continue the case without finding for 10 years, with an order to repay the Lodge. Such a finding would have spared the defendant a conviction record.
Nathan noted after the trial that in desperate times, desperate people will do dumb things that hurt people. MacInnis admitted that what he did was wrong.
Macinnis came to court last week with a check for $20,000. He also will need to make monthly payments of $1600 per month for the next four years, or face possible jail time.
The judge noted that MacInnis could have been sentenced to a long prison term, but he wanted to make sure that he would repay the Knights Lodge for his crime. A long prison sentence would have kept him from paying them back. However, the judge warned that if MacInnis does not honor the terms of the court’s agreement, he can be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison for each of the 15 counts of embezzlement. He also can be sentenced to up to five years for the two larceny counts.
About Embezzlement in Massachusetts
In this state, embezzlement is punished based upon the value of the property or funds stolen, according to 266 Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. § 30.
For amounts or property worth $250 or less, the accused can receive up to 2.5 years in prison. For amounts of $250, or more, the accused may be sentenced to up to five years in prison for each count.