Thursday, 29 February 2024

Charges refiled against former Lucerne Alpine Senior Center director

LUCERNE – A former director of the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center has been rearrested and charged again with embezzlement and grand theft.


Rowland James Mosser, 65, of Lucerne was arrested shortly before 9:30 a.m. Thursday and booked on four felony counts, two for embezzlement and two for grand theft, according to court records.


Mosser, whose current occupation is listed as business consultant on his booking sheet, posted the $10,000 bail later in the day and was released from the Lake County Jail.


Gary Luck, the county's retired district attorney who now works as a part-time prosecutor, said he is pursuing the same charges as were previously alleged against Mosser, but which were dropped during a January preliminary hearing due to the need for more evidence, as Lake County News has reported.


“It's the same case all over again,” but with a much deeper accounting of records, Luck said.


However, the case will differ in at least one way – charges have not been refiled against Mosser's wife, Jayne, who previously had faced a single felony count of grand theft.


“We don't feel we have enough evidence to convince the jury that she participated in it,” said Luck.


Judy Conard, who has acted as Mosser's attorney, did not have a comment on the case when contacted by Lake County News on Thursday.


Mosser was the center's executive director from July 2002 to August 2005.


The senior center's financial issues were the focus of an extensive grand jury investigation that was released as part of the 2006-07 report.


The refiled case against Mosser alleges that the embezzlement and theft activities took place between Jan. 1, 2005, and Aug. 12, 2005.


After the initial case was dropped earlier this year, the District Attorney's Office had a forensic examination conducted on the center's books and bank records, said Luck.


That, he said, gave the prosecution a better understanding of what was happening to the center's finances while Mosser was the center's executive director.


Former center officials told Lake County News in previous interviews that they could not account for between $150,000 and $175,000 in center funds after Mosser left in August 2005.


However, as to the total amount Mosser is alleged to have taken from the center, Luck said he doesn't have a “firm amount” and that such a total may never be available because Mosser didn't keep accurate financial records.


“Our case is built on his poor record keeping,” said Luck.


One figure that has become clearer is that between $60,000 and $64,000 was supposed to have been in the center's vault at one point, Luck said.


“The money had to go somewhere,” said Luck.


During testimony in the January preliminary hearing, Ron Larsen, the case's investigator, said he had found evidence of the Mossers' home electricity bill being paid at one point by the center.


Larsen also had testified to reviewing the Mossers' own bank statements, noting that over the period from 2003 to 2005 the couple went through a large amount of money, more than $167,000, which had appeared to come from investments.


In 2005 when the couple closed their personal checking account, all of that money appeared to be gone, with their only income source being Rowland Mosser's salary, Luck had stated in the preliminary hearing.


“When their money disappears, that's when the Lucerne Senior Center's money disappears,” Luck stated at the time.


Mosser is tentatively scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 20, according to booking records.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews .


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