Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Feb. 7, 2023

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Battle Ground man in court, accused of stealing $30K from Dollars Corner Moose Lodge

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A former staff member of the Dollars Corner Lodge of Moose International stands accused of stealing more than $30,000 from the organization.

James Patrick Seefried, 73, of Battle Ground appeared Friday morning in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree theft.

Judge Suzan Clark set Seefried’s bail at $500, citing his age, ties to the community and lack of criminal history. He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 13.

The Moose is an international, fraternal organization that provides service to the communities where its chapters are located.

In June, the manager of Moose Lodge 2423, 6719 N.E. 219th St., reported that the chapter’s bank account had dropped from $39,000 to $7,000. The manager said Seefried, the chapter’s administrator, was the only person in charge of making deposits and withdrawals for that account, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies interviewed every employee at the lodge, and each said Seefried was in charge of that account, which could be accessed using an ATM card. He was fired from his position due to the incident, the affidavit says.

When confronted by employees and superiors, Seefried apparently did not have an explanation for what happened to the money, court records state.

Search warrants were issued for Seefried’s personal bank account and the lodge account. Investigators said Seefried’s account usually had a negative balance, according to the affidavit.

Deputies investigated through the summer, working with chapter staff and representatives from the national Moose organization and Washington State Gambling Commission.

Court records say Seefried and other employees said he was gambling nearly daily at the lodge.

On Thursday, investigators interviewed Seefried about his gambling activity. He said he spent about $20 per day five days a week on gambling. But when asked about his $200 cash withdrawals from the lodge ATM that were occurring a couple times a week, he said he used it for gambling, the affidavit states.

Seefried agreed he handled the lodge’s ATM withdrawals but said he couldn’t explain where the money went, court records say. He was subsequently arrested.

“The theft in this case, just over $30,000, represents a significant loss to the chapter and impacts its ability to provide donations to the groups it serves,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release Thursday.