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Youth soccer allegations produce indictment

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Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 12:00 pm

A former treasurer of the Bandera Youth Soccer Organization was indicted for theft from a nonprofit organization by a Bandera County grand jury last week and turned herself in a day later, authorities said.

Katherine L. Totten, 34, of Bandera, was indicted on Nov. 14 for the theft of between $2,500 and $30,000 from the soccer association and covered the $5,000 bond that was set on the indictment, said Matt King, the chief deputy with the Bandera County Sheriff’s Department.  That allowed her to be released from custody the same day she turned herself in, on Wednesday, Nov. 15,  

Totten is suspected of taking $18,080 from the youth soccer group between August and mid-October of this year, the chief deputy said.

She reportedly made about $17,500 in repayments to the soccer association through a repayment process the two sides set up, but those exchanges did not prevent the criminal indictment from being secured, King said.

He said Totten allegedly took the funds through checks from the association written to her with only one signature on it from an official authorized to release the fund rather than the two signatories required by association rules.

In a prepared statement last month, the BYSO Public Relations Director Jacob Hatcher confirmed that assessment, saying the association learned on Oct. 17 “that withdrawals were being made and checks written to and signed by the then current treasurer.”

The statement said association policies requiring two signatures on all checks for cash withdrawals and that the two-signatures policy was not followed.

The association board met to discuss the issues on Oct. 17 and “the then-current treasurer admitted to taking the funds without board approval and resigned,” Hatcher said.

He said the group has reviewed its financial transactions since the alleged improprieties were reported and have elected a new treasurer for this year.

The association made no additional statement about the indictment this week.

Totten’s attorney, Phil Meyer, said he will fight the allegations, which resulted from “an unfortunate rush to take action against someone” without getting her explanation of the steps she took. 

Totten spent her own money to cover expenses for the soccer association and reimbursed herself through association funds, Meyer said.  He said he and his client are gathering documentation to prove that.

Totten on her own paid for association expenses like field rentals and for items like trophies or uniforms before seeking reimbursement from the association, the attorney said.  Meyer believes that documentation will show not only that Totten is innocent of theft “but she could be owed money.”

“She’s not guilty of any crime,” the attorney said. “She certainly did not intend to take anything.”

Meyer said he may have to file a civil action against the soccer association to get financial records showing that Totten’s claims are accurate.  A civil claim also may be needed to get any funds that Totten overpaid to the association, the attorney said.

The BYSO, meanwhile, said its new treasurer has instituted new systems to avoid future financial concerns.  It is looking at modification that could require a bill or a receipt be attached to every association check and that would assure no checks clear its bank without two signatures, except in emergency situations.

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