BARROW COUNTY, Ga. - The treasurer of a Barrow County youth soccer club was arrested after being accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the organization.
Association President Brian Jackson said about $56,000 was taken. The money consisted is mostly of dues parents pay to have their children participate. Jackson said it came as a shock.
“We had a check bounce and we've never had one bounce before,” said Jackson.
The bounced check led to a financial trail, which according to the Barrow County Sheriff's Office, showed club treasurer Chanin Watkins had been writing herself and her company checks from the association’s bank account since August of last year.
The money, raised over the last decade, went to help pay for uniforms, equipment, coaches, referees, soccer fields, travel and more for the nearly 400 children who are part of the association. Teri Everrette, who serves on the board and is also a parent of a child in the program, said part of the missing money was even going to help buy new soccer fields, finally giving the club a home which has outgrown its current 6-acre rented facility.
“We had been saving the money over the years to hopefully one day purchase our own property,” Everrette said. “And actually even today when I had someone approach me about it, I said ‘You know I keep waiting to think we're going to wake up and we're dreaming,’ it's really not happening to our kids.”
Watkins was still in jail as of Tuesday night, but was granted a bond of $114,000. She is being charged with theft by taking.
The Barrow Youth Soccer Association said they going to try to live up to their logo, a Phoenix Rising, as they pledged to keep soccer alive for the children. They are also exploring other legal avenues to try to reclaim the stolen money.