BETHEL TWP.,Ohio (WDTN) – Officials are launching an investigation into a Bethel Township pee wee league.
This comes after its board raised concerns about a potential fraud scheme.
The league is a private, volunteer based organization, which has no affiliation with the school district and is managed by a board.
Board President Carlton Gibbs tells 2 NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé when he first took office in January he starting looking at the league’s financial accounts.
When the league’s treasurer resisted providing certain information, Gibbs thought something may be wrong.
“I discovered some irregularities,” he said.
What he found were numbers that didn’t add up, causing him to bring the matter to the attention of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Office officials are investigating whether the recently fired league employee was stealing money through invoices.
2 NEWS spoke with Lt. Mike Whaley, lead detective on the case, who says he is in the process of interviewing various people.
Gibbs, a coach on the league, is grateful to the detective’s work.
He believes, “The police or the sheriff’s department is going to look backwards,” to review the history, “but we want to look forward.”
And whatever the findings, Gibbs, whose son plays in the league, tells 2 NEWS he’s still disappointed.
“The biggest thing is checks and balances. You know, when you have one person who tends to dominate the organization, which is what sort of happened last year I think, you lose that sort of second eye or even third,” he explained. “And so, what we’re doing is trying to establish policies and procedures where people don’t have access to all the parts.”
Because what he’s learned is “If one person has all those strings and can tie them up neatly, no one knows anything.”
Gibbs says those practices must change because his responsibility to the league and its parents is something he does not take lightly.
When asked what he tells parents who’ve invested their money into the league, he answered, ‘I think I tell them the same thing I tell myself. The actions of one person don’t characterize the whole organization.”
The league says it’s unsure how much may have been stolen.
It’s turning to sponsors to help with next year’s season to compensate for whatever funds may have been taken.
If you’d like to help with that visit here.