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Camp treasurer charged with stealing over $49,000

Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:15:21 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 24 2013 12:24:38 PM CST
Generic -- Pa State Police Car
PEN ARGYL, Pa. -

Richard G. Dietrich of Pen Argyl has been charged with stealing more than $49,000 from a hunting camp where he was the long-time treasurer.

The 54-year-old defendant, who resides in the 200 block of E. Reservoir Ave. in the Northampton County borough, is free on bail after being arrested Monday.

According to Pen Argyl police, the thefts occurred between January 2009 and Sept.  9 of this year.

Dietrich was the treasurer of a non-profit organization called Camp Melvin in Lackawanna County. He told police he held that position for about 30 years.

Dean Parsons of Pen Argyl, the organization's president, told wfmz.com that the hunting camp was established by his grandfather and Dietrich's grandfather.

Police said Dietrich used his authority to unlawfully deplete the camp's funds, by taking money from checking accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit belonging to Camp Melvin.

Police report he took a total of $49,238.72.

Dietrich was charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, theft by deception, tampering with records and access device fraud.

The thefts were reported to police by Parsons in September, spurring a detailed investigation into the camp's financial records.

Parsons told police he had visited the Lackawanna County property and discovered a "Notice of Public Sale" sign affixed to a tree near a hunting cabin belonging to the camp. Parsons said the notice had been posted because of unpaid county taxes.

When Parsons contacted Dietrich about the sign, because Dietrich was responsible for paying all taxes and bills, Dietrich said the taxes had been paid and some kind of mistake had been made by Lackawanna County.

Parsons requested all financial records from Dietrich, because Dietrich maintained sole control over the camp's money. Dietrich refused, saying the records were in an unknown storage facility.

Parsons next contacted the bank that kept Camp Melvin's checking account. He learned substantial amounts of money had been transferred from the camp's certificates of deposit  into the checking account, then withdrawn from the checking account. 

Parsons later learned that Dietrich established a second unauthorized checking account for Camp Melvin with another bank. He used that account to withdraw money transferred from Camp Melvin's checking account.

Police obtained two court orders to obtain Camp Melvin records from the financial institutions. In October, police reviewed those records with Parson and Camp Melvin trustee John Kortz, who confirmed the amount of the losses.

In late October, Pen Argyl police officer Jonathan Hoadley, who investigated the case, met with Dietrich. Dietrich  told him: "Your documents are wrong. The money is still there." He also became agitated and asked: "What do you want me to do? Write you a check for $60,000?"

Not long after that interview, Dietrich resigned as treasurer, according to police.

In early November, police obtained a search warrant to take possession of Dietrich's personal baking records.

Dietrich was released from jail Tuesday, after his wife Deborah posted 10 percent of $50,000 bail.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 2 before Magisterial District Judge Douglas Schlegel in Wind Gap.