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W.Va. Little League manager arraigned on charges of misusing organization's credit card

February 08, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The manager of the 2007 state champion South Berkeley Little League team was arraigned Thursday on 133 counts of fraudulent use of the nonprofit organization's credit card, according to court records.

Larry Anthony Custer, 44, of 35 Bryarly Mill Lane in Inwood, W.Va., was in Eastern Regional Jail Thursday night on a $133,000 bond set by Berkeley County Magistrate Harry L. Snow, according to court and jail records.

Custer turned himself in Thursday, a week after a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to court officials.

Appointed as president of the organization's board of directors on Sept. 16, 2007, Custer began making unauthorized purchases the next day with a transaction at Food Lion in Inwood, according to records and statements compiled by West Virginia State Police Trooper J.M. Walker.

Walker on Thursday said the purchases in question from Sept. 17, 2007, to Jan. 7, 2008, amounted to about $10,000, but he had not completed his investigation to release an exact total.

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Police said Custer admitted to using the card to purchase food because he had no money.

The charges on the Little League's debit/credit card included numerous purchases at Food Lion, Wal-Mart Supercenter and Sheetz, and also include payments to Rent A Center, Lowe's and Radio Shack, among other Inwood and Martinsburg businesses, according to a spreadsheet attached to Walker's complaint filed against Custer.

Carole Spessert, the board's treasurer, only discovered the charges after Custer did not provide her copies of bank statements despite repeated requests, Walker said in his complaint.

"It's really sad," Spessert said Thursday. "Larry has always been a very active volunteer in our league. I hate that this happened."

Spessert said the organization had insurance to cover the expenditures, which Walker said Custer "could not dispute" in an interview with the officer last month.

"Mr. Custer ... advised this officer that he was the only one who had access to the league's credit card," Walker said in his complaint.

Spessert said Custer had been an active volunteer with the Little League for about 20 years and was a "fantastic coach."

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