Former Scottish Rite business manager charged with theft

Terminated in May from his position as business manager at the Williamsport Consistory, also known as the Scottish Rite, Charles T.S. Ricketts turned himself in Thursday to face felony charges of allegedly stealing nearly $36,000 from the Masonic organization, city police said.

Ricketts, 42, of 145 Main St., Turbotville, is accused of stealing the money from January 2013, when he was hired, until May of this year, Agent Ronald Bachman said.

An internal investigation ordered by the Consistory’s executive members revealed that “Ricketts made out at least 25 checks to himself for $25,078,” Bachman said in an affidavit.

When questioned about the checks, he told the organization that he “was repaying himself since he had paid club bills from his own checking account,” Bachman said.

“Ricketts provided eight personal checks that totaled $8,125 and were made out to a ‘Rennick Brothers,'” Bachman said. The amount only accounted for a third of the money he allegedly withdrew from the club’s bank account, the investigator said.

After a search warrant was obtained to review Ricketts bank account two weeks ago, investigators learned that the former business manager clearly “changed the original receiver and the amount of the checks in order to mask the theft,” Bachman said.

“It was also discovered that cash was missing from several club accounts that Ricketts had control of, including a raffle account of $5,258. Although he furnished a deposit slip for that particular loss, bank records contest that no deposit was ever made,” Bachman said.

It also is alleged “Ricketts altered the club’s books on at least five weddings that were held at the Scottish Rite. In these instances, Ricketts allegedly charged the wedding parties the full quoted price and then changed the amounts in the books while allegedly skimming off the difference,” Bachman said.

Ricketts also gave himself an unauthorized pay raise that amounted to $1,480, Bachman alleged.

Part of the police investigation also revealed that Ricketts is alleged to have used the club’s credit card “to make $956 in unauthorized personal purchases,” Bachman said.

The total amount allegedly stolen by Ricketts was $35,784, Bachman said. Ricketts has declined to be questioned by investigators, he added.

With his attorney beside him, Ricketts was arraigned before District Judge Allen P. Page III on charges of theft and receiving stolen property. He was released on $25,000 bail.