Lost Abbey CFO Arrested on Grand Theft Charges

A San Diego man with ties to three area craft breweries was arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing funds from a nonprofit art organization he volunteered with.

James Comstock, 53, was relieved of his duties as CFO for Port Brewing & the Lost Abbey following his arrest by Carlsbad Police on charges of grand theft and misappropriation of funds. The crimes were allegedly committed while he served as the nonprofit group ArtSplash’s treasurer.

In addition to working with Port & the Lost Abbey, Comstock is a co-owner of Latitude 33 Brewery and also offers financial services to Pizza Port Brewing Company.

Jodee Sasway, Carlsbad PD’s Public Information Officer told Brewbound in an email that “this investigation revolves solely around Comstock’s role as volunteer treasurer for ArtSplash.”

ArtSplash is a free two-day event that promotes the arts within the Carlsbad community that seeks to raise funds for arts and music programs in North County schools.

Asked whether the police department had contacted any of the breweries Comstock was tied to throughout the course of its investigation, Sasway reiterated, “no other organizations have come forward with allegations, so ArtSplash is the sole organization in this case.”

Adam Martinez of Port & the Lost Abbey’s media and marketing department issued the following statement to Brewbound:

“James Comstock (a minority shareholder of Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey) of Comstock and Associates was arrested yesterday morning (12/18/13) on charges unrelated to the financial activities of Port Brewing and the Lost Abbey. Effective December 18th 2013, Mr. Comstock will no longer serve as the CFO of Port Brewing Co LLC.

We have not been contacted, nor do we anticipate being contacted, by authorities regarding this matter. On September 20th, 2013, An independent third-party CPA firm reviewed the Port Brewing LLC financials and no irregularities were found.

The ongoing investigation remains unrelated to the day-to-day business operations of Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey, as such we are declining to comment further on the issue.”

Pizza Port Brewing has also reportedly terminated Comstock’s financial services contract. Representatives from Latitude 33 did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The investigation began in January after an ArtSplash board member spotted potential discrepancies in its financial records. The investigation culminated in the police department executing a search warrant that covered all of Comstock’s financial records and documents of financial transactions surrounding his Bank of America accounts from January 1, 2009 to January 31, 2013.

Carlsbad police have not disclosed how much money Comstock purportedly stole, as the investigation is ongoing.

According to a press release from the CPD, Comstock was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Vista Detention Facility. Bond was set at $120,000.

Brewbound Job Board

The leading job board for the beer industry. Featuring hundreds of jobs from leading breweries and associated companies.

Brewbound Marketplace Listing

The Brewbound Marketplace features listings for equipment, services, and more. Post a listing today.

Brewbound's Database of Breweries

Brewbound's database of breweries includes thousands of breweries from around the world.

Brewbound Podcast

The Brewbound Podcast features interviews with beer industry executives and entrepreneurs, along with highlights and commentary from the weekly news. New episodes every Thursday.