Arrest made in Lumberton Band booster theft

Posted by Sana on 01/18/2017 in Cash Advances | Short Link

Cox was taken to the Hardin County Jail and had not posted bond as of late Thursday afternoon. If convicted, she could face 2 to 10 years in a state prison and a fine. She also could be required to pay restitution.

Sullins said Cox began stealing from the club on June 6 and used the money primarily at the Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles and other casinos in Mississippi and Alabama. The thefts began one week after Cox was elected treasurer and given access to the clubs accounts and debit card.

Still looking at her to this day, I cant believe it, said president Randy Eason, who discovered the money was missing on Oct. 18. She went on a vacation across the South with the money.

According to a probable cause affidavit provided by Lt. Joseph Breaux Jr., Cox confessed in October that she began gambling in June of 2016 to relieve stress from work and divorce, and used incredibly poor judgment when her losses were greater than her personal finances could support.

She also made purchases at Wal-Mart and Sams Club and paid for at least one dental appointment using the money, according to the document.

She felt the need to try and fix the situation by gambling more hoping to earn back when she had lost, the affidavit said.

She spent almost $85,000 at the Golden Nugget, according to casino records referenced in the affidavit.

She got the money through ATM withdrawals, cash advances, a few checks and debit card purchases, Sullins said.

Eason said Coxs financial reports at monthly booster club meetings did not indicate a problem, and when asked a question, she always had a good story. They trusted her because she worked for Jasons Deli as a forensic accountant in charge of loss prevention and because her daughter is a leader in the band, he said.

Breaux said that they believe the thefts had nothing to do with her employer. A customer service representative for Jasons Deli said Cox is no longer employed there.

We thought we knew her, but I guess we didnt, said club secretary Trish Volker, who recalled Cox sitting with the board at games and acting normally. She said Cox was able to take the money easily without being noticed because the band and club have almost no activity over the summer. She cleaned out our accounts before school started, and then took everything that came in after, she said.

In the last month, the club has elected a new treasurer and assistant treasurer and implemented new security procedures, including notifications of withdrawals and additional board access to the accounts, Eason said.

With community fundraisers and assistance from area bands, the boosters have raised enough to cover about $38,000 in unpaid bills but are still down about $25,000, he said.

Our lives have been fundraising for the last six weeks, Volker said.

The club typically pays for uniform cleaning, music and fundraising supplies and T-shirts, and supports a band trip to play at Disney World in alternate years. Money set aside for the trip, which is scheduled for March 2018, was taken.

The club is struggling to meet some ongoing expenses, Eason said.

We really should have had their uniforms cleaned before UIL competitions in the next few weeks, a $1,400 expense, but we just cant justify it right now, he said.

The band is performing at local venues and restaurants to raise money, and will be holding its annual fireworks sale in December.

Lori Sell, who served as the clubs treasurer for two years before Cox, said she took the theft personally.

I looked her in the eye, I handed the checkbook to her, I told her you need to be a person of integrity, intelligence and utmost trust to do this job, she said. Ive been in accounting for 25 years. I would never have dreamed of seeing something like this.

Eason said band director Tim Pallone addressed the students about supporting Coxs daughter, who has participated in one of the bands fundraisers.

The band students have come together behind her daughter. … The band kids are like a family, he said.


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