Former VFW bartender gets probation for post theft

BY STACI WILSON

Despite public outrage, a 19-year VFW bartender who admitted to taking $18,500 from Elk Mountain Post 8488 won’t see any jail time for the felony theft.

In an agreed upon sentence handed down Thursday in Susquehanna County Court, Rosemary Griffis, 44, of Nicholson, will serve four years on probation and pay back the money to the VFW.

The theft occurred over a 10-month time period, from Dec. 2010 –Sept. 2011, until members of the VFW confronted Griffis about the missing funds.

District Attorney Jason Legg told the court he was aware the community was upset with the plea deal and people were outraged that Griffis would not be incarcerated. The district attorney noted he had received a letter that voiced those objections to the agreed upon sentenced.

But, he said, “There is a reason behind it.”

Griffis is no longer employed at the VFW but, according to a court document, is employed at this time. The post commander also agreed with the plea deal, Legg said, adding, the priority was to see the money returned to Post 8488.

“We are afraid that she (if jailed) would lose her job and not be able to pay,” Legg said.

President Judge Kenneth Seamans warned Griffis, who has no prior record, that if she violated her probation, she could go to jail for up to seven years.

After the sentencing, Griffis’ attorney, Mark Darmofal said, “She’s in the hands of probation now.”

In addition to her work as a bartender, Griffis also acted as the co-manager and bookkeeper. According to court documents, Griffis wrote out checks to “cash” from the VFW bank account and kept the money for her personal use.