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Hagerstown man charged in theft from football team

June 27, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A 49-year-old Hagerstown man has been charged with theft in connection with checks totaling more than $2,300 that were cashed out of an account belonging to the Hagerstown Browns, a Washington County Junior Football League team, according to Washington County District Court documents.

John Lorenzo Weeks, of 17704 Crest Drive in Hagerstown, was charged earlier this month with one count of theft scheme of more than $500; one count of theft, more than $500; and five counts of theft, less than $500.

If convicted, Weeks faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for the theft of more than $500 and 15 years in prison for the theft scheme charge. The charge of theft, less than $500, carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in jail upon conviction.

One of the team parents in January alerted the Washington County Sheriff's Department to the account, which always had a balance lower than what it should be, investigators wrote in charging documents.

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Only Weeks and another man, who had not been involved in the team for years, could access the account. The other man obtained copies of checks and account statements from July 12, 2002, to March 2008, which later were given to investigators.

Two of the checks from the account in question were made payable to Weeks and four of them were made payable to cash, documents show. The memo section of some of the checks indicated that the checks were for sports equipment, investigators wrote.

The team parent who alerted police to the account said he was not aware of Weeks ever purchasing equipment for the team.

Weeks in May met with investigators at the sheriff's department.

Weeks told investigators he started coaching the team in 1999. Starting in 2004, he was the only one who had been accessing the team's bank account at Bulldog Federal Credit Union, although another name was listed on the account. Both people were not required to endorse the check, Weeks told investigators.

When questioned about a $300 check dated Oct. 13, 2006, and make payable to him, Weeks said he had been driving around when he found a yard sale, and he stopped to look at the football equipment being sold. He went to the bank, wrote the check and returned to the yard sale to buy blocking pads, used spikes, a used water jug and used shoulder pads, investigators write in charging documents.

Weeks could not explain why he didn't just write a check to the person selling the equipment, and he said most of the equipment was being stored at friends' homes, charging documents show.

When questioned about a Dec. 2, 2006, check for $950 also made payable to him, Weeks told investigators what he purchased Valley Mall gift certificates for team members and food for a team banquet. He also told investigators that their questioning made sense and that he needed to change how he used the team's account, investigators wrote.

Some of the checks also were written and cashed so that he could give team mothers money for food for games, Weeks told police. He gave investigators the name of one team mother to corroborate his statement.

"Mr. Weeks did state that he felt responsible and would repay the team whatever amount of money required to make up for the funds that are unaccounted for," an investigator wrote in charging documents.

Weeks is scheduled to appear Aug. 13 in Washington County District Court.

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