|Published:||Aug 22, 2012 10:43 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Aug 22, 2012 11:35 PM EDT|
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - The president of a Naples youth football team is under investigation accused of stealing thousands from the teams bank account.
Parents and board members started questioning money problems a few weeks ago and filed a report with the Collier County Sheriff's Office last Tuesday.
This season, is the first season for the South Naples Pirates. The concept behind the program is to teach life skills and get them off the streets.
"I wanted to challenge myself and I want to go to high school and I want to go beyond and this team has been helping me so much. I love this team," says 13-year-old Mark Noel.
More than a hundred kids signed up to be a part of the football and cheer organization. The team started collecting money from parents in February, only to learn in the last few weeks the president of the organization wiped out the bank account.
"Basically all the money that the kids had for this football organization to run is gone. It's all gone, totally wiped out, so we're starting from scratch," says Carl Addison, Vice President of the South Naples Pirates.
According to a Collier County Sheriff's report, Wells Fargo notified the board of directors in July they were shutting down their account due to a negative balance and bounced checks.
"The problem we had was the structure of the organization was not right," says Addison. "The president was also the treasurer and so he was the only one with access to the money we had. He set up the bank accounts, basically it was a matter of one person handling everything."
The board of directors estimate the president stole more than $17,000. Each of the hundred kids paid $175 to play this season and Addison says that is all gone.
"We've had sponsors try to help, local vendors and all that money is gone. We have no of it," says Addison. "We have equipment, but none of it's paid for, nothing is paid for, no insurance, nothing."
The pirates kick off their season at Eagle Lakes Park in East Naples Saturday. They are looking for volunteers, donations and sponsors to help them get back on their feet.
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