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No contest plea in $22,000 VFW embezzlement
Glenn Lavern Phillips
Glenn Lavern Phillips

The former quartermaster of the Manteca Veterans of Foreign Wars has pled no contest to felony embezzlement after nearly $22,000 went missing from the non-profit’s accounts during his time managing the books.

And now the group is worried about whether they’ll be repaid for the money that they say started disappearing just days after the man responsible assumed his post. 

Glenn Lavern Phillips, 77, pled no contest to the charges last month and according to VFW Post 6311 Commander Michael Cearley was supposed to be working on a plea deal with prosecutors that would have dropped the charges to a misdemeanor had he agreed to reimburse the missing funds. 

But that agreement, Cearley said, never came to fruition, and now he’s worried that the non-profit – which relies on the goodwill of the community and the dues-paying members that keep it afloat – won’t see the funds anytime soon.

“Him taking that money was a slap in the face to every volunteer at this post,” Cearley said. “That’s stealing from veterans – that’s stealing from your friends. And that’s a lot of money not to have in the accounts to do the sorts of things that we do for the community.”

And it isn’t like the organization can do without that funding. 

Over the course of the last year the building on Moffat Boulevard has twice been broken into – each time requiring a replacement of the glass doors that grace the entrance. In both instances the community came together to help raise the money to raise the money necessary because the unforeseen expense was something that would have deeply impacted the organization that provides a safe haven to local veterans who defended their country overseas and perform various civic functions throughout the year. 

Under the Manteca VFW’s current organizational structure, the quartermaster serves as the de facto chief financial officer of the non-profit – controlling the funding and the accounts for the group. 

Cearley said that the group performed its own investigation into the books when discrepancies arrived, and noticed that checks were written also immediately after Phillips assumed the position – including on the day of the group’s car show, which raises money for its outreach efforts which include providing scholarships to local public schools. 

Phillips was sentenced to 120 days of jail time for the crime, although he may not spend a single night in the San Joaquin County Jail if he completes an alternative work program in lieu of jail time. He will be on formal, searchable probation for five years, and is scheduled to be booked, processed, and released at jail on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 8:30 a.m. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.