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Theft charges against junior football league coach are dropped after money repaid

August 14, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped theft charges against a Washington County Junior Football League coach, saying he had made restitution.

Investigators had said that John Lorenzo Weeks, 49, cashed checks from an account belonging to the Hagerstown Browns, Washington County District Court documents show.

Weeks has paid $2,328 in restitution to the Hagerstown Browns junior football team, according to an agreement submitted to the court Wednesday morning by Deputy State's Attorney Steven Kessell.

"It's for the benefit of the kids in the football league," Kessell said after the hearing. "This gets them back their money," he said.

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Prosecutors had been working with representatives of the team, and their main concern was getting money returned to them, Kessell said.

Weeks also agreed to return any property belonging to the team and not to be involved with the junior football league or any similar organization, according to the agreement.

Weeks' attorney, Shaun Owens, said in court Wednesday that all of the equipment was believed to have been returned to the league and the team.

Representatives of the league who were in court Wednesday morning agreed with the arrangement, Kessell said.

Weeks, of 17704 Crest Drive in Hagerstown, had been charged 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.

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

During a May meeting, 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.

While Weeks told investigators that some of the money was used to purchase equipment for the team, and to purchase gift certificates and food for a team banquet, the team parent who alerted police to the account said he was not aware of Weeks ever purchasing equipment for the team, court documents show.

"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.

Washington County District Judge Ralph H. France II presided over the brief hearing.

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