Man charged in theft from Lebanon Friendship Chiefs Football and Cheerleading Association

LEBANON — Lebanon Police have charged a 36-year-old man with theft after he allegedly stole funds from the Lebanon Friendship Chiefs Football and Cheerleading Association in 2017.

At the time of the alleged theft, Joshua Copenhaver, of New Philadelphia, was the organization’s treasurer.

An investigation began in November 2017 after parents involved with the organization told police that they received information that Copenhaver had been “removing funds from the organization account for his personal use and/or using US currency collected as payments and intended for the organization account for his personal use,” charging documents state.

One parent told police that Copenhaver arrived at a bag bingo in October 2017, collected cash proceeds from the event and left before the funds could be counted, according to the criminal complaint. The same parent also described other fundraising events — two “helmet drives” held on Memorial Day and around the July 4th holiday — in which Copenhaver did not count the cash in the presence of parents.

Police also spoke with the organization’s president, Greg Whitman. Whitman allegedly told law enforcement that parents made requests to see reports or documents detailing the finances throughout the 2017 season.

Whitman reported to police that when he asked Copenhaver to provide a financial report, Copenhaver sent one that “was not accurate” and a second that was “fraudulent,” the affidavit says. When Whitman spoke to him about the second report, Copenhaver allegedly admitted he was using organization funds for his personal affairs and agreed to repay the funds.

As of February 2018, the organization’s president noted that he had received $9,100 from Copenhaver, charging documents add.

Police spoke with a second parent who told them that Copenhaver would have also received funds collected at the start of the season for cheer uniform and related accessories, which were to be made by Major League, a Lebanon-based screen printing and embroidery company.

Once Whitman learned that outstanding debts had to be paid to Major League, he authorized the release of all organization accounts from Lebanon Federal Credit Union to police.

Financial documents revealed that seven cash deposits, totaling $6,280.15, were made to the account between January 1, 2017 and November 21, 2017, the criminal complaint states. During that same time frame, 13 cash withdraws came from the account, totaling $3,800, according to the affidavit.

In 2016, 13 cash deposits totaling $10,421.24 were made to the account. No cash withdraws occurred.