A former employee of the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Masonic Temple has been charged with stealing $225,000 from the lodge's catering facility.
From today's Morning Call:
A former employee at the Bethlehem Masonic Lodge facing charges of stealing more than $225,000 from the organization has admitted to the thefts and plans restitution, his attorney said at a hearing Wednesday.
John D. Lindemuth, 48, faces the charges in Northampton County Court after giving up his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge Nancy Matos Gonzalez. His attorney, Norman E. Blatt Jr., said Lindemuth has "candidly" admitted to the thefts and is working on a plea bargain with prosecutors that will include restitution.
After the hearing, Lindemuth declined to comment. He remains free on $150,000 unsecured bail on charges of theft and receiving stolen property.
Authorities say Lindemuth, of the 1400 block of Holland Avenue in Bethlehem, had confessed a total of three times to taking money from the lodge. In the most recent thefts, police said the total amount taken was more than $225,000.
According to court records:Lindemuth began working at the lodge in 2008 and a year later, took over as supervisor for the banquet facility.
Court records say he took petty cash in 2009, but returned it before anyone noticed.The following year, Lindemuth also started skimming money and Masonic officials discovered it during an audit. The lodge determined $55,000 was missing and Lindemuth admitted taking the money. He was permitted to stay as long as he paid back the funds.
But, authorities say in 2010, Lindemuth started playing the lottery and again began skimming money. Police said he booked banquets in 2011 and 2012, but did not schedule the events and kept the money.
In 2011, Lindemuth again admitted the thefts, but was allowed to stay on and repay the funds.
This past August, lodge officials suspended Lindemuth when he was confronted with a third set of thefts.