Springboro booster gets jail for theft
Posted in the Springboro Forum
#1 Jul 9, 2013
LEBANON, Ohio (WDTN)- A long time Springboro high school sports booster was sentenced July 9, after pleading guilty to aggravated theft.
Thomas Harves, 61, will serve 90 days in the Warren County Jail. The prosecutor had asked the judge to sentence him to three years in prison.
Harves cashed more than 300 unauthorized checks, totaling $439,455, from the Springboro Athletics Boosters account while he served as the boosters' treasurer during his time with the group.
Prosecutors said Harves used some of the money to make house payments and to cover other expenses.
Current boosters say they would've liked to have seen a harsher sentence.
"My preference would have been that he did a little bit more hard time," says Afsoon McClellan, President of the Springboro Athletic Boosters.
Harves has since repaid the amount he stole.
In court he apologized for the thefts, saying he had already started returning the money when he was first questioned last June.
"What I did was wrong in so many ways," Harves told the court. "If I could make it right today I would do that."
Even Harves admits he was surprised to find out how much he took.
Prosecutors believe the amount was even higher, but didn't have the records to prove it.
"Our office could not go back further than eight years," says Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell. "I don't believe for a minute starting January 1, 2004 that Mr. Harves decided in that year alone he was going to write 54 checks for $50,000."
McClellan says even with the money back, the group is still feeling the impact of the theft.
It lost its charity status because McClellan says in an effort to cover up the thefts, Harves didn't file the group's taxes.
The boosters are working to get that status back, but regaining the community's trust will be a much more difficult process.
"In a community struggling with far bigger issues, your actions cast a shadow over the few things that bring a community like ours together," McClellan told Harves in court.
Since the theft, the booster club has changed its policies and now has more than one person handle its finances.
That's something those who often deal with these cases say would be wise for other groups to do.
"It could prevent a lot of this if you have two people checking each other when you're dealing with cash or an organization's money," says Harves' attorney Charlie Rittgers.
Fornshell has held seminars for organizations on how to handle their finances.
He expects to hold another sometime this fall.
#2 Jul 10, 2013
A portion of this idiot's punishment ought to be having to endure repeat pummellings of footballs basketballs and soccer balls into the chest area.
#3 Jul 16, 2013
Only in Warren County ( home of the over flowing tax dollars ) can a person get 90 days in jail for stealing $ 439,000.00 dollars from the Springboro Boosters Club. As reported in the Sunday edition of the Today's Pulse dated July 14th 2013 by Staff writer lawrence Budd, Tom Harves was sentenced to 90 days in jail with work release. That means the 61 year old Harves can report to jail at 6pm and strip off and let one of the deputies watch him shower then spend the night in jail. At 7am he gets out to go to work, wait who in their right mind would hire this crook? Prosecuter David Fornshell urged judge James Flannery to throw Harves in prison and fine him, but Mr, Flannery sent a very clear message to all the people who we all trust with our money. Take what you need and I will make sure you don't go to jail very long. Harves has been running the Boosters for 20 years, Fornshell said he could't tell exactly how much money Harves had stolen. The only reason he was caught was when kelly Kohls was elected to the Springboro school board she took a look at the Boosters books. Harves is the second person to face judge Flannery for stealing from the Boosters. Finally we have a person who takes time to look at the books.
Now I know why I always vote no on any levy!!!
#4 Jul 16, 2013
This is not justice. This is letting a hard core criminal get off with a tap on the wrist. Dr. Kohls had questioned the status of the boosters when the last superintendent skipped town. No one ever checked the financial records of the district to see where all of the construction money went and why the "medical center" sat basically empty with a useless physio chump sitting around doing nothing. There are still many positions that are not necessary in Springboro and most other districts. Little Miami just gave nice raises to the hierarchy there. When will the taxpayers wake up?
#5 Jul 19, 2013
You're wrong on how he was found out. KK had nothing to do with it.
#6 Jul 24, 2013
Exactly. she takes credit for all of this but she had nothing to do with it. The AD at the time uncovered it all and reported it to police. This is when the BOE decided to take credit after being asked to not talk publically about it by police.
#7 Jul 25, 2013
Finally. Someone else who speaks facts. Thank you.
#8 Jul 29, 2013
maybe you should ask Craig Colston, Scott Anderson and Don Miller and Mike Kruse who asked why the boosters had not submitted their tax return in 5 years then to be told it had nothing to do with SCCS.
Who asked questions about how camp money was handled back in 2010.
I know for a fact who it was KK, because I was the one that gave her all the info and I got the answers given to her at the time. We both knew something was up but could not get the rest of the board to do anything until the guys got there. Once Dave and Jim got elected and the Finance and Budget Committee got going finally the truth was revealed about all of the suspicious behaviors.
The AD had done NOTHING, NOTHING even thought he says he knew of something funny, he did NOTHING. He was given a heads up in 2010 but did NOTHING. No investigation, no questioning no accountability!
#9 Jul 29, 2013
#10 Aug 4, 2013
It's nothin' but a cryin' shame that the legacy of the otherwise proud and reputable Cook family is now being reduced to the task of making up an unknown remaining balance of booster proceeds stolen from this community by Tom Harves.
#11 Sep 19, 2013
I would believe the Athletic Director at the time turned his head and gave a tacit wink and a nod to whatever anyone else was doing. Just so long as nobody looked into his affairs.
#13 Oct 30, 2013
When this Booster Fellow got an attorney did it ever cross your mind why a person would get 90 days with work release for stealing 439K. Did you ever wonder why a judge says come to my chambers? The attorney this fellow hired was the ONLY attorney in Lebanon who could, let's say talk to the judge in his PRIVATE CHAMBERS. Face it people, this fellow was stealing as soon as he saw no body taking the time to look at the books. That was 20 years ago. At the very least the school board at the time should have taken a look and asked a few questions. How does a man repay 439K so easy, do you think he has a little nest egg laid away for a rainy day, maybe just enough to buy his way out of jail? Jimmy Hoffa said it best, " Every man has his price, what's yours? "
People who gave their money to the Boosters should call Kelly everyday and thank her.
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