Written by Community Editor Nicole Foulke
James Lee Moody, the Philadelphia man accused of theft and related crimes in connection with $156,041.75 taken from Victory Church in Lower Providence, where Moody was doing accounting work, waived his Wednesday morning preliminary hearing in district court, where a judge also reduced his bail from $500,000 to $99,000, cash.
District court judge Cathleen Kelly Rebar at the district court in Collegeville, said that she accepted Moody’s waiver for his preliminary hearing, a hearing where a judge can hear evidence and determine how to proceed.
Rebar also agreed to lower his bail. “I’ve reduced your bail to the $99,000 cash as agreed upon by the commonwealth and your attorney,” she said to Moody.
Moody, who appeared in court in a maroon prison jumpsuit, glasses and sneakers, was quiet.
Moody has been charged with theft by failure to make required disposition of deposited funds unlawful use of a computer, theft by deception and related offenses, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office.
Deputy District Attorney Steven Latzer, the prosecutor assigned to the case, said after the hearing that he does not expect the case to go to trial. “The commonwealth’s case against him is overwhelming, and, other than pleading guilty and begging the court, there’s not much else that he can do,” said Latzer.
According to Latzer, often when a defendant is confronted with a mound of evidence that is not in his favor, he may plead guilty, as Moody did in a 2001 case against him.
Latzer referenced Moody’s conviction and sentencing that followed a 2001 accusation for theft and credit card fraud regarding his actions as a controller for Special Olympics Pennsylvania. Moody was accused of siphoning $20,865 from the Montgomery county organization, and received a sentence of 10 to 23 months in the county jail, as well as 11 years of probation.
According to Latzer, Moody still owes around $18,000 in restitution to Special Olympics, and his last payment was in 2006. Moody is in violation of his probation from this earlier case and will have a probation violation hearing in court, he said.
“This case has brought the first one back to life,” Latzer said.
Latzer suspects that the current case will likely result in Moody paying restitution to the church, and that the amount will be at the judge’s discretion.
Also, if Moody were able to meet his bail, due to a detainer lodged against him by adult probation services, he would not be able to leave the facility where he is incarcerated, but, rather, could be moved to a different part of the facility, said Latzer.
Moody’s attorney, James Lyons, said after the hearing that, in his experience, it is often the case that charges such as the ones in this case are brought and that it is later found that the charges are not actually sound.
“It could be found that the charges are not actually true and that there are members of the church that are misinformed,” he said.
According to his attorney, Moody himself is not enjoying the situation, but is holding up. “He’s not pleased, let me put it that way,” Lyons said.