Woman used money stolen from youth baseball team for Disney trip

Warren Co. woman indicted for stealing money from youth baseball team

Former youth baseball treasurer arrested

SPRINGBORO, OH (FOX19) - A Warren County woman stole nearly $200,000 dollars from a youth baseball team and used part of it for a Disney vacation, Warren County officials say.

Monday, Warren County Prosecutor David P. Fornshell said Renee K. Nichols, 46, was indicted for embezzling funds from the Springboro Clearcreek Baseball Association (SCBA).

Renee Nichols was indicted for stealing $180,000 from a Warren County Youth Baseball team and using it to pay her credit card bills and for a trip to Disney.
Renee Nichols was indicted for stealing $180,000 from a Warren County Youth Baseball team and using it to pay her credit card bills and for a trip to Disney. ((Warren County Court))

Officials say Nichols served as treasure of SCBA from 2011 to 2017.

The prosecutor’s office says from July 2013 through July 2017, Nichols stole at least $180,000 from SCBA’s bank account and used it for personal purchases.

Nichols spent that money on a trip to Disney and credit card bills, among other things, the indictment says.

A new board member, who is a former CPA with experience in fraud investigations, uncovered the scheme in 2017 officials say.

While looking through the organization’s finances, the new member found that Nichols didn’t file SCBA’s Form 990 with the IRS threatening its tax-exempt status.

Nichols doctored bank records to hide the nature of her purchases, officials say.

Investigators believe Nichols also destroyed and disposed of the laptop containing SCBA’s historical financial information.

Board members and Springboro police found about 1,000 improper expenditures throughout the investigation.

“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,” said Fornshell.

Nichols is charged with aggravated theft and tampering with records.

Monday, SCBA put out a statement about the indictment, assuring the community all games will be played as scheduled and they are cooperating with law enforcement.

The SCBA is cooperating fully with law enforcement, the Warren County Prosecutor’s office, and the State of Ohio in the active prosecution of a past board member.  While we cannot comment on the specifics of the case due to the ongoing nature of the proceedings we can assure you that we continue to treat the matter with the upmost importance.  The grand jury’s recent indictment represents a year’s worth of close collaboration with the City of Springboro, Warren County, and the State of Ohio.  During that time the league has put an entirely new executive board in place and formed a Finance & Audit committee that is solely focused on financial oversite 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. 
SCBA Board

Nichols will appear in court Wednesday afternoon.

Fornshell used the indictment announcement to remind Warren County organizations about a training to learn how to protect themselves against internal theft.

He says the prosecutor’s office along with the Warren County Police Chiefs Association will discuss policies and procedures these organizations can implement during a training session at 7 p.m., Oct. 24, in the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office multipurpose room.

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