Youth coach charged after Troubleshooter investigation - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Youth coach charged after Troubleshooter investigation

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Eric Mason (Source: LMDC) Eric Mason (Source: LMDC)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A WAVE 3 Troubleshooter investigation has led to criminal charges against a youth football coach accused of stealing almost $15,000 from kids.

Louisville Metro Police have been looking for Eric Mason ever since I first broke this story in the fall. In our report, we exposed documents that appear to show Mason took thousands of dollars from the bank account of a youth football league, and spent it on himself. Now Mason, the former Okolona Titans Youth Football League president and program director, is facing felony charges.

The WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department first brought the allegations against Mason to light in October after parents of some of the 130 children in the league called for help. The parents said $14,700 was missing from the league's bank account. Bank records show from April to August of 2011 Mason took out hundreds, even thousands of dollars at a time with no record of what he spent it on. The documents also show Mason used the league's debit card to pay cell phone bills, stop at gas stations, go out to eat, and go shopping.

In October, board member LA Graves also told us thousands of dollars raised through concession sales and raffles disappeared and there was less than $30 in the league's bank account by the end of the summer.

"What does it say for a society you know when you can't trust people to do the right thing by children," Graves told me at the time.

After spending months conducting its own investigation, in January 2012 Louisville Metro Police took out a warrant for Mason's arrest. That warrant included allegations that Mason forged a document from the league's board of directors that allowed him to take control of the Titans bank account and withdraw money at will, something that was also first reported in the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter investigation.

After learning of the charges against Mason, current league president Donnie Cox said he looks forward to the day Mason faces a judge.

"I'm just hoping justice will be served on behalf of all of these little kids and all of these things these parents have gone through," Cox said.

By phone, Mason told me, "I'm not guilty, and I will prove I'm not guilty once this case is over."

Some of the league parents reacted to Mason's arrest on the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Facebook page:

Bea Nieves: "im glad tht he will have 2 answer 4 what he did!!!!!

Marie Blair-Hicks: "thanks for your help eric. it truly means a lot to the boys and girls and their parents. thanks lmpd for taking away this felon and thank you wave 3 viewers that made donations for the team."

Mason's alleged theft left the team without money for pictures or an end of season banquet, so WAVE 3 viewers stepped up to throw them a pizza party and took player photos after the final game of the season.

To friend the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter on Facebook click here. To follow on Twitter click here.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.