Investigation: Did Mass. Grand Lodge misuse $1.5 million?

July 14, 2008 at 10:13 am (Masonic, Warped) (, , )

The Boston Herald reported on Saturday that an investigation is being conducted into allegations that as much as $1.5 million was embezzled from the 275-year old Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Does this even surprise anyone any more?

From the Boston Herald:

Suffolk County prosecutors are investigating allegations that as much as $1.5 million was embezzled from funds within the headquarters of the secretive Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Masons, sources said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s Securities Division is launching its own separate probe of the Grand Lodge’s finances, sending a letter of inquiry yesterday to giant financial house UBS for information on its business dealings with the ancient fraternal order, according to a source.

A law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the Suffolk probe told the Herald yesterday that members of the lodge discovered the financial irregularities and took their findings to authorities, who have in turn launched a criminal probe that is zeroing in on two Mason officials.

Authorities within Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley’s office are investigating the potential embezzlement of about $1.5 million over an eight-year period, the source said.

Conley declined to comment through a spokesman. “I cannot confirm or deny any potential investigation,” said Jake Wark.

Assistant Grand Treasurer Craig S. MacPherson referred questions to Grand Secretary Jeffrey L. Gardiner, who acknowledged that a probe is under way but declined to give any other information.

“We can’t make any comment during the investigation,” he said yesterday.

UBS, which Galvin has charged with fraud and dishonest conduct in a separate civil case involving the sale of auction-rate securities to clients, has many business dealings with various Mason entities, sources said.

Galvin’s office has asked UBS to provide by July 25 a description of “the inception of the client relationships and services, the broker or brokers of record, the supervisor of the brokers and documents and materials furnished to the (Massachusetts Grand) Lodge by UBS,” the source said, quoting the letter.

A UBS spokeswoman declined comment yesterday.

The Suffolk and Galvin probes could prove to be yet another blow for area Masons, who several years ago were hit with a scandal involving former money-manager and radio-station owner Brad Bleidt. He was convicted of swindling tens of millions of dollars from area investment victims, many of them Masons.

Bleidt, who used to be a Mason, is now serving time at the federal prison in Fort Dix, N.J.

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