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Youth football financial theft case continues

POSTED April 13, 2012 9:57 p.m.

The embezzlement case against a former president of the Turlock Youth Football League was issued another continuance after his defense attorney said new information about the case had come to his attention.
Marc Howze, 47, is facing a felony charge of embezzlement on allegations he stole between $50,000 to $100,000 from TYF while serving as the league's president during the 2008 season.
A preliminary hearing was supposed to be scheduled during Howze's appearance in Stanislaus County Superior Court on Friday, but his defense attorney, Alonzo Gradford, said he had been given new information from his client and needed a continuance. Gradford did not elaborate on what that new information could be.
Judge Marie Silveira granted a new court date for May 14. Howze has had more than a dozen court appearances since his arraignment on Sept. 22, 2010.
The investigation into Howze began in early 2009 when the TYF Board of Directors noticed growing discrepancies regarding their funding. Board members Ted Howze (no relation to the defendant) and Joe Lewis were suspicious as to why they were getting color-coded documents detailing the league's finances from Marc Howze and treasurer James Chandler instead of bank statements, according to court records.
Lewis started looking into the league's checking account and found some oddities, including three checks that were written to Marc Howze's wife, all to pay for the same laptop.
According to the court records, one of the color-coded documents given to the board by Marc Howze showed the league had a balance of slightly more than $12,000, but a bank statement for the same time showed $549.79 in the checking account.
Investigators with the Turlock Police Department found Marc Howze made 42 cash withdrawals totaling more than $20,000 and wrote 21 checks to his wife for more than $28,000, according to the court records.
Turlock Police Detective James McWilliams stated in the arrest warrant for Marc Howze that it would be difficult to gauge the exact amount missing from the account because there were monies from admissions and concessions that were allegedly never deposited into the account.
Court records state the board members went to Chandler to ask him about the discrepancies and Chandler told them he had stopped doing the official treasurer duties a while back and everything was being handled by Marc Howze. He also told them that Marc Howze had loaned him $4,000 from the TYF account to save his house from going into foreclosure and that he had paid it back. No criminal charges have been filed against Chandler.
The board did confront Marc Howze about the funds before handing the matter over to the police department. The board offered to drop the matter if Marc Howze paid $25,000, but the deadline came and went without any payments, according to court records.
Marc Howze is free on his own recognizance.
The missing funds have not hampered TYF from continuing to play in football games.

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