The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a former member of the Englewood Masonic Lodge for stealing more than $90,000 from the group’s scholarship fund.
The investigation began in May when Michael Cripps, DOB 11/17/53, 6463 Facet Lane, Port Charlotte, contacted the Sheriff’s Office to report himself for the ongoing crime. Detectives contacted the Lodge and learned Cripps was the sole person with access to the account. Financial records showed that since July 2007, Cripps cashed checks and made unauthorized personal purchases totaling $92,563.70.
Cripps turned himself in this morning and is charged with felony Scheme to Defraud. He is currently being held on $50,000 bond.
This is at least the fourth arrest this year of someone who stole a significant amount of money from their employer, church or organization. We continue to warn business owners to institute procedures as simple as requiring two signatures on checks and ensuring monthly financial statements are reviewed by more than just the person responsible for those funds.