Theft from community organizations, including youth sports, is surprisingly common across the U.S. Recently, a Warren County woman was indicted for allegedly embezzling $180,000 from a youth baseball league. This spring, money from a Middletown's youth football league went missing. One Southwest Ohio prosecutor hopes to at least slow the theft with a seminar planned for October 24.
Warren County Prosecutor David P. Fornshell and the County Police Chiefs Association are co-sponsoring a community training. It's something they do every other year.
Fornshell advises asking questions to avoid getting ripped off. "Nobody wants to question anything that the treasurer does for fear you are questioning their integrity -- or worse -- that they'll ask you to do it instead."
Fornshell says the frequency of theft in organizations like youth sports remains about the same -- once a year, because the turnover of volunteers as their kids cycle in and out is high. He says some thefts are as high as $500,000.
"Sometimes they are long-time volunteers and nobody wants to ask some very simple questions about how money is being handled and, as a result, it creates an opening if somebody is going through a financial struggle and it makes it easy to exploit perhaps a hole in the process."
Fornshell says if somebody wants to steal from the organization and they have access, they are going to do it. But, "The idea behind the training is to give tips as to how to limit the frequency of the thefts that can take place as well as how to limit the scope of theft."
The training session, which is free and open to the public, is Wednesday, October 24 at the Warren County Prosecutor's Office from 7-8 p.m.