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Heat founder, coaches charged in alleged illegal fundraiser

February 01, 2007|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - Hagerstown Heat All-Stars founder Anna Lois Miles and two coaches have been charged with holding an illegal fundraiser for the cheerleading group in February 2006.

Anna Lois Miles, 33, of 11134 Lakeview Drive, was charged with gambling: keep, use, permit a place of gambling in connection with the Feb. 17, 2006, basket bingo fundraiser at Boonsboro Fire Co.

Miles, who was convicted in 2004 for writing bad checks from the group's account, allegedly used $2,000 raised in the event to pay back a woman who helped bail her out of jail in December 2005, according to charging documents.

Hagerstown Heat coaches Charles William Buffington, 37, of 80 Byron Drive in Smithsburg, and Suzette Nichole Durbarow, 34, of 13341 Draper Road in Clear Spring, also were charged in connection with the fundraiser. Both coaches were charged with prohibited act of bingo, prohibited act operation of a tip jar, occupy a place for gambling and manage a place for gambling in connection with the fundraiser, according to charging documents.

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None of the defendants held licenses to hold a bingo or tip jar event and no fire hall personnel assisted with event sales, according to charging documents.

Buffington allegedly collected money at the event and Durbarow allegedly helped coordinate it, Washington County Sheriff's Department Investigator Chris Weaver wrote in charging documents.

All three were served with the charges this week through criminal summonses and have scheduled hearings on the charges on April 17 in Washington County District Court, according to court records.

Money raised in the fundraiser was to be used for competition fees, uniforms and related expenses, according to court records. The event raised about $4,500.

Tip jars, 50-50 games and other "games of chance" were sold during the fundraising event, according to charging documents.

Since Hagerstown Heat is a for-profit business, Maryland law prohibits the organization "from holding gaming events or purchasing or selling gaming devices such as tip jars and bingo," according to court records.

The invoice for the event indicated the fire company sold Hagerstown Heat 16 tip jars that were sold and played during the bingo event, according to charging documents.

Michelle Tapia, a parent who had loaned Miles $2,000 for bail, told Weaver she saw Miles pocketing $2,000 from the event sales at the end of the night, according to charging documents.

Any parents with questions about the charges may call Weaver at 240-313-2186.

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