Freemason faces jail for stealing £50,000 — (The Chronicle & Journal)

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The Chronicle & Journal

Apr 17 2007

By Daniel Cochlin, The Journal

A freemason who stole almost £50,000 from two North-East lodges was warned yesterday he faces a jail sentence.

Former bank manager David Glass was told he had betrayed his “brothers” by taking cash over the space of 12 months from lodges in Bedlington and Seahouses in Northumberland.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Glass, 54, who was also a senior Rotary Club figure, embezzled a total of £49,084 while treasurer for the lodge between November 2004 and November 2005.

Wearing a sober black suit, Glass, of Crumstone, Seahouses, Northumberland, admitted 18 counts of theft and two of using a false instrument by creating false bank transfer orders.

Despite pleading not guilty to the charges at earlier hearings, Glass yesterday admitted the crimes and, although he was granted bail, was warned he faces jail.

Glass admitted nine allegations of theft involving a total of £15,150 from the Bedlington-based Northumberland Provincial Grand Lodge between November 2004 and November 2005.

He also admitted eight theft charges, totaling more than £33,000, from the Farne Lodge of Mark Master Masons between July and November 2005.

Ian Graham, prosecuting, said that he expected two allegations of forgery, which Glass denied, will be taken no further.

Caroline Goodwin, defending, said psychiatric reports needed to be prepared for Glass, who had been struggling with depression at the time of the offences.

She added: “Around the time period that these took place, Mr Glass had employment at another business.

“He was suffering from depression and was being treated for the same. He has been on medication and there is a very different picture to this. While the thefts are accepted, there is a substantial amount of mitigation.”

Glass is now due back in court for sentence on July 2. He was arrested last November after a police investigation.

Judge Guy Whitburn said his actions had been an abuse of trust, and said jail was almost inevitable because of the large sums of money involved.

He added: “David Glass, you have pleaded guilty and when you come to be sentenced, some credit will be given to you for your plea. You betrayed the trust of those who had known you for some time and had regarded you as one of their brothers. The sums of money are substantial and prison may be inevitable.”

As well as his masonic duties, Glass worked as an independent financial adviser and formerly as a bank manager.

He is also a former president of Seahouses and District Rotary Club, an organisation which does fundraising work for local charitable causes.