Philipsburg woman sentenced to probation in theft case

A Philipsburg woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in Clearfield County Court to taking more than $5,000 from a local club while she was an employee.

Jennie Lynn Lutz, 55, pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking and was sentenced by President Judge Fredric Ammerman to two years’ probation. As a part of her plea agreement, she paid restitution of $6,378.31 in full prior to sentencing. She must also pay a fine of $200 plus court costs.

Lutz was charged with the crime as a result of her actions beginning in April 2013 and continuing through January 2014, according to the affidavit of probable cause. During this time she was employed to handle the finances of the Moose Lodge in Morrisdale.

Ammerman noted prior to sentencing that even though this was an employee theft, the representatives of the Moose just wanted the money back and were not asking that she serve any time in jail. Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Baker agreed, adding that the lodge wanted to be sure she had a theft on her record so she couldn’t steal in this way again.

The investigation began after the trustees discovered money was missing from their accounts and some bills that had not been paid. They suspected Lutz was completing the ledger, showing the bills had been paid, but the checks she actually wrote were made out in her name or for cash.

When an officer reviewed copies of the checks, he found the first suspect check was dated in May 2013 and was filled out for $500 payable to Lutz. The check receipt showed that the check with this number was for $500 but was made out to Moose International. There were 18 checks completed in a similar fashion that totaled more than $5,700. Further investigation with the bank showed that Lutz was the one who cashed these checks, according to the criminal complaint.

The five club members who had access to the checkbook confirmed that they did not authorize Lutz to make these checks out to herself. It was noted that only Lutz knew the amount on the bills that came in because she was hired to take care of the bills.