SPRINGBORO, Ohio -- The former treasurer of a youth baseball organization is accused of stealing at least $180,000 from the organization’s bank account, according to Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.
Renee K. Nichols, 46, began serving as treasurer of the Springboro Clearcreek Baseball Association in 2011. Fornshell said she used the embezzled funds for a Disney vacation, paying off personal credit card bills and other personal expenditures.
“The idea that funds that should have been used for things like replacing aging helmets to prevent concussions, instead were used as someone’s own personal slush fund, it’s infuriating,” Fornshell said in a written statement.
According to Fornshell, a grand jury indicted Nichols for aggravated theft and tampering with records. From July 2013 until July 2017, Nichols failed to file the SCBA’s Form 990 with the IRS and doctored bank records to hide the nature of her spending, Fornshell said. Investigators also believe that Nichols destroyed a laptop containing the SCBA’s financial information when she was confronted by a member of the organization.
The alleged scheme was discovered by a new board member who began looking into the organization's finances, Fornshell said. He said the board member and the Springboro Police Department identified about 1,000 improper expenditures by the suspect.
Nichols is no longer a board member of the SCBA. In a statement on its website, the SCBA said it’s cooperating fully with law enforcement, the Warren County Prosecutor’s office and state investigators. The organization has an entirely new executive board in place and a finance and audit committee focused on oversight and accountability:
“While the actions of the past board member have shaken the league, we are encouraged by the community support and are excited to build on the great 2018 season and bring a stronger SCBA to the community next season.”
The Warren County Prosecutor’s Office and Warren County Police Chiefs Association will hold a training session for board members, officers, directors and volunteers of youth and other community organizations.
The one-hour training session is at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24 in the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office multipurpose room at 500 Justice Drive in Lebanon.
A reminder of our upcoming Community Organization Training Event. pic.twitter.com/0y8fR1sGp3
— Prosecutor Fornshell (@WCProsFornshell) October 15, 2018
Fornshell said he will discuss how groups and organizations can implement policies to prevent internal theft.
“Over the past few years, we’ve had several high-profile theft cases from youth and community organizations,” Fornshell said. “Every one of these thefts could have been prevented, or at least discovered very quickly, had these organizations implemented the policies and procedures we discuss in this presentation, which we have been offering for several years now. I strongly urge every community organization to send a representative to this training.”