MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two men have pleaded guilty to swindling $50,00 from the Hamel Little League.
Edward Roy Leuther, 50 of Corcoran, had been charged with one count of theft by swindle. Eric Benjamin Vargas, 49 of Andover, had also been charged with swindling as part of the investigation.
Leuther paid $45,000 in restitution and was sentenced to three years of probation. He’ll also serve 67 days in the county work house and be subject to electronic home monitoring. Vargas entered his plea prior to trial Monday and is expected to receive three years of probation, serve 30 days in the county work house and be subject to electronic home monitoring. It’s also expected he’ll pay $5,000 in restitution.
Court documents state Leuther was the president of the Hamel Athletic Club, and the swindling started almost immediately after he was added to the club’s bank accounts in February 2016. He convinced Vargas, who runs a sports apparel company, to send him inflated invoices to the club after buying hats and jerseys, then refund the money to Leuther in cash.
Vargas eventually sent invoices for items the shop didn’t even sell, like baseballs.
The treasurer of the athletic club discovered the swindling last July and resigned after being intimidated by Leuther.
Mike Mohs, the current president of the Hamel Athletic Club, said in an impact statement that as a result of Mr. Leuthner’s theft, families have had to pay increased fees. Field maintenance and improvements have had to be put off. The reputation of the club is tarnished and it will take years to rebuild community trust.