A South Elgin, Illinois man reportedly recruited a group of 11-year-old boys to play in travel baseball team in a town in Northwest Indiana, collecting fees from the children’s parents to get the team organized. The coach asked each of the 12 players to contribute $675 to help pay for uniforms and tournament fees. Such an amount is fairly typical for newly organized teams. The coach claimed he had prior experience as a former traveling team coach for the Deep River Devils in Illinois and as an assistant coach for a high school in Illinois. Parents said they thought he was on the up-and-up.
Police say he collected about $8,000 from parents and then took off. He reportedly set up a bank account for the team, from monies collected by parents and raised at fundraisers but the bank account is alleged to have a negative balance.
One of the b0y’s mothers, Lisa Merrill, said that the coach was supposed to order the boys’ uniforms and claimed he had them in his possession but she later found out that he had never even ordered them nor did he pay for the 60 tournaments the boys were supposed to participate in. She said that the coach wrote her a letter and claimed to be suffering from a mental illness and promised to pay the parents back once he recovered.
Parents are now scrambling to try to work something out so that the kids can still play ball this spring. Hobart High School in Hobart, Indiana is still owed money for the children’s practices because the coach never paid them either.
Source: CBS News