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Police: Youth soccer coach stole players' money
A former boys' coach with the Pennsylvania Soccer Academy will be charged with two felonies for allegedly stealing nearly $9,000 worth of players' training and tournament fees.
George Conrad Maute Jr. had "on multiple occasions" made assurances to the academy that he would pay back the money, according to charging documents filed by Northern York County Regional Police.
But he never did, police said.
Maute, 50, of the 3100 block of Pineview Drive in Dover Township, will be charged with theft by deception and receiving stolen property, both graded as third-degree felonies, according to charging documents.
He has not yet been arraigned on the charges, according to court records.
Maute coached an under-12 boys' team and an under-14 boys' team. A total of 18 families involved with the teams paid him a total of $8,720, documents state.
That money was supposed to be used for training and tournament entry fees, police said.
"Maute was given time to repay the money to the families or the league but failed to do so," police wrote.
Independent teams: Jack Denney, president of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Soccer Academy, said each soccer team is independent, with individual coaches collecting money and running their own teams.
The purpose of the soccer academy is to "make sure we're giving kids a good place to play soccer," he said.
The academy's website states: "Teams act as independent franchises and will operate with minimal support from the organization. The formation of teams and placement of coaches must be approved by the board."
Basically, Denney said, the soccer academy is an umbrella group for a number of self-sufficient teams. It doesn't hire, fire or maintain coaches, he said.
"When the parents made us aware of what was going on, we asked (Maute) to leave," Denney said.
There were issues in addition to Maute allegedly taking money from team members' families, according to Denney.
"He wasn't showing up to training sessions, and he just wasn't giving the kids what they should be getting," Denney said.
Agreed to refund fees? Denney said he also told Maute to repay the parents the money he owed them, or to at least return that money to the soccer academy — and said Maute agreed to do so on a number of occasions.
"That was the last we heard (for some time)," Denney said. "I thought everything was OK. ... It's unfortunate."
Then police called him in January and told him Maute hadn't repaid parents, Denney said. He said the soccer academy is fully cooperating with the investigation.
Denney said he and other coaches have paid about $1,500 out of their own pockets to keep afloat the two teams previously coached by Maute.
'Deceived': Ken Shields, of Manchester Township, has a son who played in Maute's U14 team.
"He deceived all the parents," Shields said of Maute. "He was not doing what he was supposed to do as a coach. ... He jeopardized the entire indoor season."
Tournaments were missed, he said, and although Maute apparently signed up the teams for trainings and tournaments, he didn't pay those entry fees.
Shields said the Pennsylvania Soccer Academy provided "a lot of money for these teams to continue to play soccer."
Shields said he and another parent are volunteering as coaches until the soccer academy can find a permanent coach to take over.
Supportive: "The PSA — the president and board of directors — have been nothing but supportive," he said, adding the academy also is paying for the costs of the teams' spring season.
Maute's alleged crime came to light when team parents started sharing information about "the money issue" and one came up with a spreadsheet that made it clear something was amiss, according to Shields.
Maute did not return a phone message seeking comment. It is unclear if he has retained an attorney.
Police said they continue to investigate Maute. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective William Haller at 717-292-3647, or call the department's tip line, 717.467.TELL (8355). Anonymous tips can be emailed to email@example.com.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.