MADISON - A Bloomingrose couple pled in Boone County Circuit Court on Sept. 30 regarding a 14-month investigation into missing funds from the now defunct Seth Midget Football League.
Jeremy Johnson pled guilty to the misdemeanor offense of embezzlement and faces up to a year in jail. Pamela Johnson pled guilty to the felony offense of embezzlement and faces not less than one nor more than 10 years in prison. They are scheduled to return to court on Nov. 13. Details regarding any agreement for repaying the stolen funds was not available.
Between June 2014 and July 2018, the couple served as president and treasurer for the Seth Midget Football League. During this time they had unfettered access to the finances of the organization. The league folded in June 2018.
Investigator Captain David Sutphin with the Boone County Sheriff’s Office was focused on specific areas including suspicious ATM withdraws, "cash back" after purchases of other items at multiple retailers and more than $1,100 spent in South Carolina while vacationing at Myrtle Beach, which came after a vacation to Disney in Florida. The suspicious transactions all took place using a debit card in the league's name. Sutphin said that he is pleased with the results of the court proceedings.
"I think a felony embezzlement on her and a misdemeanor embezzlement on him is a good outcome from everything I looked at in my investigation," he said. “I’m pleased with that result.”
Sutphin had given of his own money to the league and even helped arrange fundraising events including one in Madison where Mayor Sonny Howell and the city council gave full access of the Madison Civic Center to the league for a fundraising event.
The Captain became suspicious of the league when he heard that their numbers were down and he knew that over 80 kids participated the season before. He also was given a tip from a concerned volunteer that things may not be as they seemed.
Sutphin said that the most painstaking aspect of the investigation was combing through the bank records of both the league and the Johnsons.
“It was the bank records,” he said. “I had to go through five years of complete records for the league and the Johnsons’ personal account,” he said. “Then, matching things that they said they bought with the associated receipts. That took the most time. I went through thousands of grocery receipts and had to determine what was used for personal use and what was used for the league. I used menus from the events matched up with the associated dates, which were provided by the public. I got subpoenas and search warrant for every store they purchased items at.”
The purchases were made with the league’s debit card for the account at Whitesville State Bank.
Sutphin’s report showed $14,594 in cash withdraws, $4,640 in cash-back transactions, $1,000 in checks made out to cash, $22,647.04 spent at Sam’s Club, $3,310.83 spent at Kroger, $2,702.38 spent at Wal Mart and $1,159.43 spent on a Myrtle Beach vacation. The couple spent $550.66 at Lowe’s and $225.45 at the Country Store in Seth.
A total of $25,588.52 in league money was deposited into the Johnson’s personal bank account.
Sutphin’s comprehensive investigation reveals that only $7,754.83 in receipts could be recovered from Sam’s Club and of those receipts a total of $860 came via cash-back transactions. The couple received $640 in club membership cash rewards.
Only $1,340.33 could be documented through receipts at Wal Mart while $400 was obtained in cash-back transactions at the retailer.
At Kroger, $644.25 in receipts were recovered with $200 in cash-back transactions documented.
Additionally, a significant amount of cash was not deposited during the 2017 calendar year making it impossible to document the total of monies taken during that time period.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at email@example.com or at 304-307-2401.