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Police called when B.C. little league finds $230,000 missing from bank account

COQUITLAM, B.C. — A little league baseball club in Metro Vancouver says it has contacted the RCMP after discovering hundreds of thousands of dollars missing from its accounts.

A statement posted online by the president of Coquitlam Little League says a full investigation is underway into the disappearance of nearly $230,000 of club funds.

Sandon Fraser says the problem surfaced when its members reported they had not received refunds when the spring 2020 baseball season was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Fraser says a police report has been filed and the league can’t provide further details while the investigation is underway.

“As a board and as people, we are devastated by this discovery,” says the statement dated Friday.

Fraser says the board has retained independent accounting support to review all the accounts of Coquitlam Little League.

A statement from Coquitlam RCMP says they were alerted to the allegations on Aug. 8 and transferred the investigation to fraud specialists in its economic crimes unit last week.

The league’s intermediate all-star team captured the B.C. Provincial Championship last year. Its website says more than 700 families have players registered with the organization.

An email sent Friday to club members that was also posted on the league’s website says a board of directors meeting on June 9 was presented with financial accounts showing assets of $229,971.

Instead, Fraser says they know the league’s funds are currently under $3,000, and suppliers are also owed for unpaid invoices.

“As I hope you can understand, as a result of this serious issue, we are unable to offer refunds to our member families at this time,” Fraser says in the email.

A news conference has been scheduled for Saturday to discuss the matter further.

“We are a close community and it is normal to speculate on who might be involved and what occurred,” says Fraser, urging members to ignore rumours and wait until all the facts are available.

Cpl. Jason Tran of Coquitlam RCMP’s economic crime unit says police won’t be releasing the name of any suspect or suspects unless they reach a point where the BC Prosecution Service approves charges.

“Fraud investigations are often complex, and it’s too early to start talking about details like the exact amount that is missing, but we have a good starting point and expect to make progress,” he says in the statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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