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Former Little League manager waives hearing rights

February 13, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Berkeley County man accused of using a Little League baseball organization's credit card for dozens of personal, unauthorized purchases waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday in magistrate court.

Larry A. Custer of Inwood, W.Va., was arraigned last week on 133 felony counts of fraudulent use of a credit card belonging to South Berkeley Little League's board of directors.

Custer, who turned 45 Sunday, was in Eastern Regional Jail Tuesday evening. He apparently was unable to post bail for a $5,000 bond set by Berkeley County Magistrate Harry L. Snow.

Snow originally set a $133,000 bond for Custer when he turned himself in Friday and was arraigned on charges stemming from purchases made between Sept. 17, 2007, and Jan. 7, according to court records.

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Snow agreed to lower the bond amount after Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Saunders talked with investigating West Virginia State Police Trooper J.M. Walker, who said he consented because he didn't consider Custer to be a "flight risk."

According to police, Custer's alleged credit card misuse began the day after he was appointed president of the Little League's board. Walker estimated last week that about $10,000 in unauthorized purchases were made.

Police have said Custer admitted to using the card to purchase food because he had no money, but the questioned payments also included ones made to Rent-A-Center and Radio Shack, among others.

The board's treasurer told police she belatedly discovered the charges after Custer did not provide her with copies of bank statements she requested. Copies of statements she retrieved from the bank led to the man's arrest, according to court records.

With Custer as manager, South Berkeley Little League's team won the state title last year.

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