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Felon Hid Past to Commit Crimes Against Montco Church, Authorities Say

James Lee Moody is a former Montgomery County employee and a member of the executive board of Penn Christian Academy, according to his LinkedIn profile.

James Lee Moody concealed his past crimes to land a job with Victory Church, authorities allege. Photo Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office
James Lee Moody concealed his past crimes to land a job with Victory Church, authorities allege. Photo Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

Written by Tim Zatzariny, Jr. 

James Lee Moody embezzled more than $20,000 from Special Olympics Pennsylvania, and went to jail for his crimes. 

A decade later, he appears to be unrepentant, as he was arrested and charged Tuesday with similar crimes, this time against a local church.

Moody, 47, went to great lengths to hide his criminal past before he was hired in 2011 to do accounting work for Victory Church on Audubon Road in Lower Providence, authorities said.

They allege he committed multiple counts of identify theft by providing the church with another person’s Social Security number, date of birth and Pennsylvania driver’s license during the background-investigation process.

Moody’s alleged ruse prevented church officials from uncovering his prior conviction for theft and related charges. Instead, Victory Church unknowingly hired a felon to handle its money.

Second time around

Moody stole a total of $156,000 from Victory Church from May 2011 to May 2013, authorities said.

The Philadelphia resident is accused of secretly directing the church’s payroll company to make regular deposits into his personal bank accounts as his payment, event though he had already been paid directly by the church for the same work.

Victory Church Executive Pastor Rick Martin declined an interview request Wednesday, but said in a prepared statement:

“Upon the discovery of the alleged actions, we reported them to the authorities. We are cooperating fully with law enforcement in their investigation. At this time, we are unable to provide more information as the investigation is ongoing.”

In December 2001, Moody, then a Souderton resident, was accused of credit card fraud and theft in connection with his position as a controller for Special Olympics Pennsylvania, located in Montgomery County. He was accused of stealing $20,900 from the organization, and was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in county jail and 11 years probation.  

Nicole Jones, spokeswoman for Special Olympics Pennsylvania, said Wednesday afternoon the organization had no comment on the latest charges against Moody.

Former county employee 

Moody is a former Montgomery County employee, according to his LinkedIn profile, on which he identifies himself as “J. Lee Moody.” He worked as a senior accountant in the county Office of Children & Youth Services from August 1983 to May 1988, his profile states.

He later performed accounting work for numerous nonprofits and business organizations in Pennsylvania, according to the profile.

Beginning in April 2012, Moody served as treasurer on the executive board of Penn Christian Academy, a private school in East Norriton, his profile states.

A woman who answered the phone at the school Wednesday afternoon declined to confirm whether Moody is a member of the school’s executive board, and said the school would have no comment.

Among the business skills Moody lists on his LinkedIn profile is a “proven track record of increasing revenues, streamlining workflow and creating a team environment to increase productivity.”

As details emerge about his past, Moody was held on the latest charges in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on $250,000 bail, awaiting a preliminary court hearing scheduled for next week.

It was unclear Wednesday whether an attorney is representing Moody.

(Local Editors Nicole Foulke and Brittany Tressler contributed to this report.)

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