Former American Legion Treasurer Charged With Bilking Veterans’ Club

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A man in Lycoming County is accused of stealing more than $127,000 from an American Legion.

Police say Jess Hackenburg was the treasurer of Post 104 in Montoursville and took the money over a course of three years.

Police say between January 2010 and December of last year, Hackenburg made numerous cash deposits to several personal bank accounts with the legion’s money.

Investigators one of those accounts primarily served to pay for Hackenburg and his wife’s healthcare.

At the American Legion Post 104 in Montoursville, members are getting a dose of bad news.

The legion’s former treasurer, Jess Hackenburg, whose picture still hangs on the wall here from the time he was post commander, now stands accused of bilking the club out more than $127,000.

“You know he used to joke about people being thieves and being lower, beneath him and here he is no better,” said legion member Marshall Engel.

Police say Hackenburg stole the money by forging checks from the legion’s bank account.

Hackenburg was arraigned on charges of theft after a lengthy investigation that club officials say began in December of last year when they noticed something suspicious with the account.

“Something odd and obviously we asked for help and we had people look into it and it’s still going on,” said legion secretary Mark Budda.

Court papers say Hackenburg began making cash deposits to numerous personal accounts at separate banks, staring in January 2010 and running through until December 2012.

Police say one of those accounts primarily served to pay for Hackenburg and his wife’s healthcare.

Club officials say if the accusations are true, Hackenburg victimized his fellow veterans.

“It’s a military establishment so yeah, overall it benefits military people, so in an aspect it would hurt some of them obviously,” said Budda.

At Hackenburg’s home in Montoursville, he declined to talk on camera.

However his long-time neighbor Diane Thomas came to his defense.

“He’s innocent until I see any kind of evidence that says he’s guilty, I’ve known him for forever and I just can’t believe he would do it,” said Thomas.

The legion’s president said the investigation is solely in the hands of police.

He says the club’s main goal is to recoup the money that was lost.