Thief swipes Masons' cash

Essex County Standard: The St Giles Masonic Lodge, Colchester. The St Giles Masonic Lodge, Colchester.

A TREASURER has admitted stealing up to £80,000 from a masonic lodge.

Harry Traverse said he took the money, from the St Giles Masonic Association, based in St John’s Green, Colchester, over a period of more than five years.

Traverse, 76, of Windsor Court, Brightlingsea, was working as association treasurer during the time the offences took place.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday how the lodge called the police after members found a number of financial irregularities in the account.

Soon after, Traverse was interviewed by officers and admitted he had taken the money.

Traverse appeared in front of magistrates, who declined to deal with the offences because they were too serious. He will be sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court next month and could face up to three years in jail.

Brian Wright, masonic spokesman for Essex, said: “It is very sad.

“To a great extent, it is like having a family member involved in something to us.

“This was something which was reported by our own members when they realised things were not right.

“Standards of honesty and morality are very high and when something like this happens it comes as a great shock.”

Mr Wright also queried whether the money would be returned to the lodge, but said no action will be taken against Traverse until after he is sentenced.

He said: “At that stage, we, as an organisation, would then have to look at it, but whatever we do is based on the normal legal process as we are not judge and jury and would not want to be.”

Under mason rules, if a member is sent to jail, they are permanently removed from the lodge.

Traverse admitted to six counts of theft by an employee, between January 2007 and July 2012.

Comments (9)

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8:52am Tue 26 Nov 13

TheEqualisers says...

This is unfortunate and quite a dismal situation: Some masons are decent people how ever there are some in the lodges that attend there that have been up to miscreant behavior especially during the boom years of Blair/Brown:
The figure was originally £125,000 quoted by lodge members so where the other alleged £45,000 is anyones guess.
There were also rumours that the money was owed in VAT funds in the charitable trust.
In this vein it is some what convenient that those facts have not been actioned on or spoken out :
Is it not the case that two senior revenue officers are members of one of the cherub lodges:
A little too close for comfort if you ask me.
This is yet another stereotype of the type and style of seedy corruption that is devastating the reputation of Colchester along with The NHS hospital Trust scandal and there is no putting it in context issue here either.
This Town has had more share of its farcical scandals and both Bob Russell & Bernard Jenkin need to start coming down hard on this type of ridiculous Truman Show style of behaviour.
And by the way these scandals are just the tip of the ice berg.
There should be further investigations from Audit Commision investigators into apparent of losses of money In street services at CBC some 5 years ago: Also a private government run quango agency in st peters street colchester was closed down some time ago coincidentally after huge somes of money where inappropriately awarded to the wrong service user applicants.
Millions have gone missing in this Borough or appear to have been wrongly utilized in their official remit.
This is monies that could have gone to looking after the old, sick and vulnerable during catastrophic times not lining peoples pockets to get fat and overweight on:
Colchester needs to clean itself up fast!
This is unfortunate and quite a dismal situation: Some masons are decent people how ever there are some in the lodges that attend there that have been up to miscreant behavior especially during the boom years of Blair/Brown: The figure was originally £125,000 quoted by lodge members so where the other alleged £45,000 is anyones guess. There were also rumours that the money was owed in VAT funds in the charitable trust. In this vein it is some what convenient that those facts have not been actioned on or spoken out : Is it not the case that two senior revenue officers are members of one of the cherub lodges: A little too close for comfort if you ask me. This is yet another stereotype of the type and style of seedy corruption that is devastating the reputation of Colchester along with The NHS hospital Trust scandal and there is no putting it in context issue here either. This Town has had more share of its farcical scandals and both Bob Russell & Bernard Jenkin need to start coming down hard on this type of ridiculous Truman Show style of behaviour. And by the way these scandals are just the tip of the ice berg. There should be further investigations from Audit Commision investigators into apparent of losses of money In street services at CBC some 5 years ago: Also a private government run quango agency in st peters street colchester was closed down some time ago coincidentally after huge somes of money where inappropriately awarded to the wrong service user applicants. Millions have gone missing in this Borough or appear to have been wrongly utilized in their official remit. This is monies that could have gone to looking after the old, sick and vulnerable during catastrophic times not lining peoples pockets to get fat and overweight on: Colchester needs to clean itself up fast! TheEqualisers

10:35am Tue 26 Nov 13

concernedrefuture says...

What has happened to 'integrity'?
What has happened to 'integrity'? concernedrefuture

1:20pm Tue 26 Nov 13

tomtheDJ says...

TheEqualisers wrote:
This is unfortunate and quite a dismal situation: Some masons are decent people how ever there are some in the lodges that attend there that have been up to miscreant behavior especially during the boom years of Blair/Brown: The figure was originally £125,000 quoted by lodge members so where the other alleged £45,000 is anyones guess. There were also rumours that the money was owed in VAT funds in the charitable trust. In this vein it is some what convenient that those facts have not been actioned on or spoken out : Is it not the case that two senior revenue officers are members of one of the cherub lodges: A little too close for comfort if you ask me. This is yet another stereotype of the type and style of seedy corruption that is devastating the reputation of Colchester along with The NHS hospital Trust scandal and there is no putting it in context issue here either. This Town has had more share of its farcical scandals and both Bob Russell & Bernard Jenkin need to start coming down hard on this type of ridiculous Truman Show style of behaviour. And by the way these scandals are just the tip of the ice berg. There should be further investigations from Audit Commision investigators into apparent of losses of money In street services at CBC some 5 years ago: Also a private government run quango agency in st peters street colchester was closed down some time ago coincidentally after huge somes of money where inappropriately awarded to the wrong service user applicants. Millions have gone missing in this Borough or appear to have been wrongly utilized in their official remit. This is monies that could have gone to looking after the old, sick and vulnerable during catastrophic times not lining peoples pockets to get fat and overweight on: Colchester needs to clean itself up fast!
Honesty is sometimes lost when close "friends" are members of any monetery group or organisation.

CBC has become a laughingstock both inside and outside the areas that surround it.

This news story highlights how Masonic lodges try in vein to become more open and honest,
but just this one story shows the lack of internal judgement prevails.
[quote][p][bold]TheEqualisers[/bold] wrote: This is unfortunate and quite a dismal situation: Some masons are decent people how ever there are some in the lodges that attend there that have been up to miscreant behavior especially during the boom years of Blair/Brown: The figure was originally £125,000 quoted by lodge members so where the other alleged £45,000 is anyones guess. There were also rumours that the money was owed in VAT funds in the charitable trust. In this vein it is some what convenient that those facts have not been actioned on or spoken out : Is it not the case that two senior revenue officers are members of one of the cherub lodges: A little too close for comfort if you ask me. This is yet another stereotype of the type and style of seedy corruption that is devastating the reputation of Colchester along with The NHS hospital Trust scandal and there is no putting it in context issue here either. This Town has had more share of its farcical scandals and both Bob Russell & Bernard Jenkin need to start coming down hard on this type of ridiculous Truman Show style of behaviour. And by the way these scandals are just the tip of the ice berg. There should be further investigations from Audit Commision investigators into apparent of losses of money In street services at CBC some 5 years ago: Also a private government run quango agency in st peters street colchester was closed down some time ago coincidentally after huge somes of money where inappropriately awarded to the wrong service user applicants. Millions have gone missing in this Borough or appear to have been wrongly utilized in their official remit. This is monies that could have gone to looking after the old, sick and vulnerable during catastrophic times not lining peoples pockets to get fat and overweight on: Colchester needs to clean itself up fast![/p][/quote]Honesty is sometimes lost when close "friends" are members of any monetery group or organisation. CBC has become a laughingstock both inside and outside the areas that surround it. This news story highlights how Masonic lodges try in vein to become more open and honest, but just this one story shows the lack of internal judgement prevails. tomtheDJ

1:53pm Tue 26 Nov 13

none2001 says...

The money concerned was not taken from any Masonic Lodges as such, but from the company which runs the St Giles Masonic Centre. This is operated on normal business lines and charges Masonic Lodges, and indeed anyone else who hires the hall for weddings etc. as a venue for hire of the facilities, dining, bar etc.

The debt that resulted has meant that the St Giles Association is effectively bankrupt and will be placed in administration.

The fraud has been happening over a long period of time and consisted of many small payments which all added up to a large amount.

There have been no special favours by HMRC who have/are forcing the association into bankruptcty.
The money concerned was not taken from any Masonic Lodges as such, but from the company which runs the St Giles Masonic Centre. This is operated on normal business lines and charges Masonic Lodges, and indeed anyone else who hires the hall for weddings etc. as a venue for hire of the facilities, dining, bar etc. The debt that resulted has meant that the St Giles Association is effectively bankrupt and will be placed in administration. The fraud has been happening over a long period of time and consisted of many small payments which all added up to a large amount. There have been no special favours by HMRC who have/are forcing the association into bankruptcty. none2001

7:44pm Tue 26 Nov 13

Boris says...

It sounds like the old story of no dual control, no auditing, and of course then the temptation to "borrow" funds can be irresistible.
it is all very boring, but unless people take care with others' money, and if somebody is making sure that they can't handle money on their own, this kind of thing is bound to happen.
Any organisation or company which leaves the treasurer in sole charge of the money is asking for trouble.
It sounds like the old story of no dual control, no auditing, and of course then the temptation to "borrow" funds can be irresistible. it is all very boring, but unless people take care with others' money, and if somebody is making sure that they can't handle money on their own, this kind of thing is bound to happen. Any organisation or company which leaves the treasurer in sole charge of the money is asking for trouble. Boris

7:48pm Tue 26 Nov 13

tomtheDJ says...

none2001 wrote:
The money concerned was not taken from any Masonic Lodges as such, but from the company which runs the St Giles Masonic Centre. This is operated on normal business lines and charges Masonic Lodges, and indeed anyone else who hires the hall for weddings etc. as a venue for hire of the facilities, dining, bar etc. The debt that resulted has meant that the St Giles Association is effectively bankrupt and will be placed in administration. The fraud has been happening over a long period of time and consisted of many small payments which all added up to a large amount. There have been no special favours by HMRC who have/are forcing the association into bankruptcty.
Ah, thanks for the correction.
so, if the St. Giles goes bankrupt, is it personal members,
or the name, or the venue which declares bancrupcy ?

the reason I ask is would it be difficault to declare a venue as bankrupt,
so it then must rest on "persons" - the association ??

If as you say, its been run on business lines,
by "persons"
would the debt be carried by those same "persons" both in context of being members of the association, and/or any other business dealings those "persons" may have.
[quote][p][bold]none2001[/bold] wrote: The money concerned was not taken from any Masonic Lodges as such, but from the company which runs the St Giles Masonic Centre. This is operated on normal business lines and charges Masonic Lodges, and indeed anyone else who hires the hall for weddings etc. as a venue for hire of the facilities, dining, bar etc. The debt that resulted has meant that the St Giles Association is effectively bankrupt and will be placed in administration. The fraud has been happening over a long period of time and consisted of many small payments which all added up to a large amount. There have been no special favours by HMRC who have/are forcing the association into bankruptcty.[/p][/quote]Ah, thanks for the correction. so, if the St. Giles goes bankrupt, is it personal members, or the name, or the venue which declares bancrupcy ? the reason I ask is would it be difficault to declare a venue as bankrupt, so it then must rest on "persons" - the association ?? If as you say, its been run on business lines, by "persons" would the debt be carried by those same "persons" both in context of being members of the association, and/or any other business dealings those "persons" may have. tomtheDJ

12:30am Wed 27 Nov 13

none2001 says...

tomtheDJ wrote:
none2001 wrote:
The money concerned was not taken from any Masonic Lodges as such, but from the company which runs the St Giles Masonic Centre. This is operated on normal business lines and charges Masonic Lodges, and indeed anyone else who hires the hall for weddings etc. as a venue for hire of the facilities, dining, bar etc. The debt that resulted has meant that the St Giles Association is effectively bankrupt and will be placed in administration. The fraud has been happening over a long period of time and consisted of many small payments which all added up to a large amount. There have been no special favours by HMRC who have/are forcing the association into bankruptcty.
Ah, thanks for the correction.
so, if the St. Giles goes bankrupt, is it personal members,
or the name, or the venue which declares bancrupcy ?

the reason I ask is would it be difficault to declare a venue as bankrupt,
so it then must rest on "persons" - the association ??

If as you say, its been run on business lines,
by "persons"
would the debt be carried by those same "persons" both in context of being members of the association, and/or any other business dealings those "persons" may have.
It is/was just a normal Ltd company. The company has a debt which it can't pay so has ceased to trade. A number of people sadly lost their jobs (in the catering, bar etc.). The building its self is owned by a different company - it is the company which ran the day to day business as a tenant of the building which has gone - rather like a hotel which leased the building.

As to the person above who questioned the disparity in figures as is normal in these cases the CPS only charged on a number of "sample" cases which were easy to prove totalling about £80k. The actual figure taken might be higher but the figure quoted in court can only be the figure charged. This is the normal procedure in cases of fraud.
[quote][p][bold]tomtheDJ[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]none2001[/bold] wrote: The money concerned was not taken from any Masonic Lodges as such, but from the company which runs the St Giles Masonic Centre. This is operated on normal business lines and charges Masonic Lodges, and indeed anyone else who hires the hall for weddings etc. as a venue for hire of the facilities, dining, bar etc. The debt that resulted has meant that the St Giles Association is effectively bankrupt and will be placed in administration. The fraud has been happening over a long period of time and consisted of many small payments which all added up to a large amount. There have been no special favours by HMRC who have/are forcing the association into bankruptcty.[/p][/quote]Ah, thanks for the correction. so, if the St. Giles goes bankrupt, is it personal members, or the name, or the venue which declares bancrupcy ? the reason I ask is would it be difficault to declare a venue as bankrupt, so it then must rest on "persons" - the association ?? If as you say, its been run on business lines, by "persons" would the debt be carried by those same "persons" both in context of being members of the association, and/or any other business dealings those "persons" may have.[/p][/quote]It is/was just a normal Ltd company. The company has a debt which it can't pay so has ceased to trade. A number of people sadly lost their jobs (in the catering, bar etc.). The building its self is owned by a different company - it is the company which ran the day to day business as a tenant of the building which has gone - rather like a hotel which leased the building. As to the person above who questioned the disparity in figures as is normal in these cases the CPS only charged on a number of "sample" cases which were easy to prove totalling about £80k. The actual figure taken might be higher but the figure quoted in court can only be the figure charged. This is the normal procedure in cases of fraud. none2001

8:27am Wed 27 Nov 13

stevedawson says...

"Thief swipes masons cash"l got a degree in journylizm innit.
"Thief swipes masons cash"l got a degree in journylizm innit. stevedawson

6:47pm Wed 27 Nov 13

tomtheDJ says...

none2001 wrote:
tomtheDJ wrote:
none2001 wrote: The money concerned was not taken from any Masonic Lodges as such, but from the company which runs the St Giles Masonic Centre. This is operated on normal business lines and charges Masonic Lodges, and indeed anyone else who hires the hall for weddings etc. as a venue for hire of the facilities, dining, bar etc. The debt that resulted has meant that the St Giles Association is effectively bankrupt and will be placed in administration. The fraud has been happening over a long period of time and consisted of many small payments which all added up to a large amount. There have been no special favours by HMRC who have/are forcing the association into bankruptcty.
Ah, thanks for the correction. so, if the St. Giles goes bankrupt, is it personal members, or the name, or the venue which declares bancrupcy ? the reason I ask is would it be difficault to declare a venue as bankrupt, so it then must rest on "persons" - the association ?? If as you say, its been run on business lines, by "persons" would the debt be carried by those same "persons" both in context of being members of the association, and/or any other business dealings those "persons" may have.
It is/was just a normal Ltd company. The company has a debt which it can't pay so has ceased to trade. A number of people sadly lost their jobs (in the catering, bar etc.). The building its self is owned by a different company - it is the company which ran the day to day business as a tenant of the building which has gone - rather like a hotel which leased the building. As to the person above who questioned the disparity in figures as is normal in these cases the CPS only charged on a number of "sample" cases which were easy to prove totalling about £80k. The actual figure taken might be higher but the figure quoted in court can only be the figure charged. This is the normal procedure in cases of fraud.
ok, thanks for detailing the answers to my questions.
I now feel sorry for those who must feel betrayed by just one persons actions,
and in that, I suppose we hope it was just the one person at fault here.

Can the building be saved by another company being formed to run the business side of things - perhaps ?
[quote][p][bold]none2001[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tomtheDJ[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]none2001[/bold] wrote: The money concerned was not taken from any Masonic Lodges as such, but from the company which runs the St Giles Masonic Centre. This is operated on normal business lines and charges Masonic Lodges, and indeed anyone else who hires the hall for weddings etc. as a venue for hire of the facilities, dining, bar etc. The debt that resulted has meant that the St Giles Association is effectively bankrupt and will be placed in administration. The fraud has been happening over a long period of time and consisted of many small payments which all added up to a large amount. There have been no special favours by HMRC who have/are forcing the association into bankruptcty.[/p][/quote]Ah, thanks for the correction. so, if the St. Giles goes bankrupt, is it personal members, or the name, or the venue which declares bancrupcy ? the reason I ask is would it be difficault to declare a venue as bankrupt, so it then must rest on "persons" - the association ?? If as you say, its been run on business lines, by "persons" would the debt be carried by those same "persons" both in context of being members of the association, and/or any other business dealings those "persons" may have.[/p][/quote]It is/was just a normal Ltd company. The company has a debt which it can't pay so has ceased to trade. A number of people sadly lost their jobs (in the catering, bar etc.). The building its self is owned by a different company - it is the company which ran the day to day business as a tenant of the building which has gone - rather like a hotel which leased the building. As to the person above who questioned the disparity in figures as is normal in these cases the CPS only charged on a number of "sample" cases which were easy to prove totalling about £80k. The actual figure taken might be higher but the figure quoted in court can only be the figure charged. This is the normal procedure in cases of fraud.[/p][/quote]ok, thanks for detailing the answers to my questions. I now feel sorry for those who must feel betrayed by just one persons actions, and in that, I suppose we hope it was just the one person at fault here. Can the building be saved by another company being formed to run the business side of things - perhaps ? tomtheDJ

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