Police: Treasurer for Hanover youth sports clubs embezzled $758K
The former treasurer of two Hanover-area youth sports leagues is accused of embezzling more than $750,000 from the clubs — as well as from York-area business clients — over a six-year period.
David W. Wells served as treasurer for both the Hanover Soccer Club and the South Western Youth Lacrosse organization, according to Hanover Police. For a time, he worked as a financial adviser for Counsel Trust Group, which provides wealth-management and trust services.
Wells, 48, of 36 Cornell Drive in Penn Township, remains free on his own recognizance, charged with theft, receiving stolen property and access device fraud. Hanover Police filed the felony charges May 2, and he was arraigned the next day, according to court records.
His preliminary hearing was set for Tuesday but was postponed and not yet rescheduled, according to the office of District Judge Dwayne Dubs.
Defense attorney Korey Leslie said Wells will waive his right to a preliminary hearing.
"We're not going to contest the fact that monies were misused," he said. "The restitution is going to be the issue."
Leslie said he's not necessarily contesting the alleged amount of the loss; he simply wants to be sure it's the appropriate amount.
He confirmed his hope is that the case be resolved with a negotiated plea agreement.
The allegations: Police allege that while Wells was treasurer of the soccer club between 2009 and December 2016, he stole $604,719 from the club account.
Tim Swingler, president of the soccer club, alerted police in December that funds were missing from the club account, police said.
An investigation determined Wells used the soccer club account to pay his mortgage and various credit card bills, documents allege.
"Wells also wrote a large number of checks to himself and withdrew money, most of which did not appear to be related to (soccer club) business," Hanover Police Detective Marci Mead wrote in charging documents.
The "suspicious activity" in the soccer club's bank account went back to December 2010, according to police.
Wells also was treasurer of the lacrosse club from December 2012 to December 2015. He is accused of stealing $23,681 from the lacrosse organization during that time, charging documents state.
Financial adviser: The investigation also discovered that while he worked as a financial adviser for Counsel Trust he "redirected funds" from three different estates he managed through the company, documents allege.
He wrote six checks totaling $129,600 from those three estates to Hanover Soccer Club, then used the money to pay his personal bills, according to documents.
Counsel Trust reimbursed all three clients using its own money, making the company Wells' third alleged victim, documents state.
In early March, a Counsel Trust spokesman told The York Dispatch that Wells was terminated for being under criminal investigation.
Police estimate the total amount stolen at $758,001.19.
Swingler, the Hanover Soccer Club president, said the alleged embezzlement has not affected the club's spring season.
"We literally had $3,000 in the bank when the (allegations) came out in late December," he told The York Dispatch. "But we've been able to utilize funds we have received through registration to continue our soccer program."
Shifted priorities: But larger projects, such as field improvements, have been put on the back burner, Swingler said. The soccer club is for kids as young as 4, up to high-school age.
"It's definitely shifted our priorities," Swingler said, adding it's also been a distraction for the club's board members. They've spent "countless hours" going over bank transactions dating back to 2010, he said.
The board also has put policies and "necessary checks and balances" in place in an attempt to prevent this kind of theft from happening again, he said.
"We look forward to obtaining restitution of funds to further the mission of our organization to provide quality soccer to the children in our community," he wrote in an email.
Swingler noted Wells was very involved in other community groups as well.
"When you have someone highly regarded in the community, you don't question (their motives)," he said.
Marshall Stevenson, president of South Western Youth Lacrosse, could not be reached for comment.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.