News, Police

True sentenced for embezzling money from Masons, Tonoloway Rod & Gun Club

by Kate Shunney

The Hancock man who pled to multiple embezzlement charges against him for taking funds from two local non-profits was sentenced to jail last Thursday, March 16 in Washington County Circuit Court.

John Phillip True, 65, of Heavenly Acres Ridge, was sentenced to five years in jail for misdemeanor embezzlement by Judge Mark Boyer on two separate offenses. All but 18 months of True’s prison term was suspended by the judge. He must also serve five years supervised probation.

True must pay $33,743 back to Tonoloway Rod and Gun Club, and $16,699.56 Masonic Lodge as part of his sentence.

True was set to go to trial last year on the charges that he stole funds from the Mason Lodge and Tonoloway Rod & Gun Club where he held positions of treasurer. Instead, those jury trials were postponed, and True entered an Alford plea on October 3, 2022. That plea acknowledges there is sufficient evidence to convict a person but the accused does not admit to their guilt.

True misappropriated money from the rod and gun club between July 2018 and September 2019, and from the Masons between January 2019 and June 2019, according to court records.

During last week’s sentencing hearing, The Herald Mail reported that groups believe True stole even more money from them than was included in the restitution order. Judge Boyer reportedly allowed for True to attempt to sell or refinance his home while he serves his prison term in order to pay the groups back.

True will serve his sentence at the Washington County detention center. He was to report to the center on Friday afternoon to begin serving his sentence.